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2.7%  Q1 GDP    4.57%  avg. 30-year mortgage     9.5%  Unemployment

'Beige Book' Tells Gloomy, if Expected, Tale

Ever read a book that tells you what you already knew?

The Fed's "Beige Book" -- a collection of anecdotal information about the economy gleaned from the Fed's 12 regional banks -- was released moments ago and told of deteriorating conditions across the country. Which is unsurprising, as the data was taken during September, one of the worst months in the history of the U.S. economy.

"Credit conditions were characterized as being tight across the 12 districts, with several reporting reduced credit availability for both financial and non-financial institutions," read the book, which is published eight times per year and is named for the color of its cover.

Consumer spending was down in most districts and the book reported reduced demand for labor as businesses tightened belts. Manufacturing moved lower in most districts and real estate and construction remained low or softened across the country.

One of the few bright spots: Agriculture. Another: Drilling, especially for natural gas, increased in the U.S. during September.

Also, inflation was not a problem during September. Cold comfort, that.

Here is the full text of the book.

-- Frank Ahrens

By Frank Ahrens  |  October 15, 2008; 2:35 PM ET
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