Midwest consumer spending slowed in late ’06, Fed says

Consumer spending softened in November and December in the district overseen by the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. However, holiday sales “met expectations” of retailers in the upper Midwest, according to the Fed’s January Beige Book report on the economy.

The Chicago region includes Iowa and most of Indiana, Illinois, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Residential construction and real estate activity declined, but not as much as earlier in 2006, said the report, which the Fed publishes eight times a year based on anecdotal information it gathers.

Increases in manufacturing slowed, commercial lending held steady and household lending moderated. Wage increases were on par with the subdued nature of fall 2006, and nonwage price pressures softened.

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