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Feds Say Cleveland's Fortunes Modestly Brighter

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Cleveland is one of 12 districts in the U.S. monitored in the Federal Reserve's "Beige Book". Using anecdotal reports gathered from local businesses and manufacturers, the latest edition finds there's a silver lining around what has been a dark economic cloud over the region. Ideastream's Brian Bull has more.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Manufacturers say oil and gas exploration, transportation, and industrial equipment needs have helped business. Steel makers in Cleveland especially enjoyed an uptick in shipping volume.

Most manufacturers reported output was better than a year ago at this time. Business construction for small and medium sized contractors has improved in recent weeks, and hiring for manufacturers also grew.

Recruitment of highly-skilled workers remains a problem for both manufacturers and energy producers. And some were concerned about how unrest in Europe could affect their business.

Consumer spending was largely mixed for Cleveland and districts in the upper Midwest and East Coast. Generally sales were decent, except a warm, dry winter cut into sales of seasonal winter items.

Cleveland also reported some growth in home sales, though little movement in house prices. Cleveland also noted more requests for commercial real estate lending, with delinquent loans overall holding steady or dropping.

Out of the 12 districts monitored by the Federal Reserve, Atlanta and Philadelphia enjoyed the fastest rates of economic growth.

The Fed ranks Cleveland's growth as "moderate".

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