Fed survey: Growth slows across much of the US

WASHINGTON (AP) ? The economy worsened in about half the country earlier this summer because of weak home sales and signs of a slowdown in manufacturing.

A Federal Reserve survey said Wednesday that seven of the Fed’s 12 bank regions reported slower growth in June and early July compared with the spring. That’s a worse showing than in the previous survey.

Of the remaining five districts, four reported modest growth. A fifth, the Minneapolis district, said its economy was disrupted by bad weather and the shutdown of Minnesota’s state government.

The job market remained weak in most districts, the report said. Employers added few jobs in June, the government said earlier this month.

Droughts and severe flooding badly hampered seven districts with large agricultural sectors, the report said.

Manufacturing output rose overall. But many districts reported only “steady or slowing” growth, the Fed’s report said. Only two districts reported rising manufacturing activity. Companies in three districts ? Philadelphia, Richmond and Atlanta ? reported slower growth.

The overall weak picture of the national economy echoes recent data on hiring and manufacturing. Economists expect growth for the April-June quarter, which will be reported Friday, to fall below 2 percent, the second straight quarter of anemic expansion.

The report, known as the “Beige Book,” is based on anecdotal information gathered by officials at the 12 Fed regional banks. It is released eight times a year and provides an on-the-ground snapshot of the economy. Wednesday’s report covered the roughly seven weeks between May 27 and July 15.