Transcripts of the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve from 2002–2008.

Thank you, Mr. Chairman. Fifth District economic activity continues to be mixed. Our manufacturing indicators continued to drift lower in the past few weeks, apparently diverging from the national trend. This may be because furniture and textiles are particularly weak, and these industries are a significantly greater share of our activity than of activity elsewhere. Respondents’ expectations regarding future manufacturing activity remained upbeat but had drifted a bit lower. After two bad months, readings on the District’s retail sector have returned to neutral, helped by a sharp turnaround in big ticket sales. Retail employment and wage indexes rose significantly as well, and expectations for future demand increased sharply. For services firms outside the retail sector, our index has moderated a bit over the past three months, though it remains positive, and measures of expected demand have held up quite well. Housing markets in our District are typically busiest this time of year, as elsewhere, and contacts are reporting softer overall sales this year, as you might expect. Having said that, I continue, however, to hear reports that homes priced below $250,000 or above $700,000 are selling well. We hear reports of a lack of inventory close to D.C., although President Lockhart has a property for sale you might be interested in. [Laughter]

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