By JEANNINE AVERSA
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Highlights from the Federal Reserve’s survey of economic conditions nationwide. The survey, released Wednesday and known as the Beige Book, is based on information collected from the Fed’s 12 regional bank districts.
CHICAGO (Region covers Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and parts of Illinois and Indiana.)
Economic activity improved at a moderate pace. Consumer spending increased slightly, although auto sales were weak. Factory activity gradually improved and orders increased, mostly reflecting the restocking of shrunken inventories.
Demand from Asia boosted exports, but with growth in China expected to slow, companies predicted export activity would moderate as well.
Construction activity stayed weak.
In agriculture, corn prices fell amid last fall’s record harvest. Hog and cattle prices rose, while dairy prices flattened.