Consumer spending rising, but still soft in some regions: Fed

Consumer spending improved in a majority of Federal Reserve districts, but some areas saw a weakening retail picture due to softer auto sales, according to the central bank’s latest report on the U.S. economy.

The Beige Book, a survey of economic conditions across the Fed’s 12 districts, noted that spending “appears to be rising” across most regions amid increases in non-auto retail sales and tourism. Still, other districts haven’t fared as well.

The Federal Reserve Bank of New York observed weaker retail sales, saying retailers believe that business will be generally steady for the second half of 2017. Retailers in upstate New York said store traffic and sales have been flat at weak levels, while retail business in New York improved slightly from a particularly soft period. Auto dealers in the state reported a rebound in sales during May and early June.

The Dallas district reported that retail sales continued to rise in June, although growth slowed down compared to the prior period.