It would have been worse without Canadians, big families and stately homes.
U.S. growth slowed in most parts of the country in June and into mid-July, the Federal Reserve said in its Beige Book survey of economic conditions across the country.
That’s bad news because most economists thought a slowdown in the first half of the year was a temporary soft patch. Weak momentum going into to the second half may point to lingering malaise.
However, there were a few bright spots in the gloom.
In general, consumer spending picked up as lower gas prices gave people more money to spend and made travel less expensive. Retail sales were booming in New York because Canadians, flush with a strong currency, were flocking to one specific large mall in the western part of the state.
A hotel in Baltimore reported occupancies had been pushed up by big events and an increase in family reunions. However, gains in tourism on the East Coast probably came at the expense of a loss of visitors to the oil-spill tarnished Gulf Coast, the Fed said.
The housing market remained weak across the nation, and home prices continued to slide, the report said. Still, fancy homes were going like hot cakes in some places. Washington area-houses in the mid to upper price range were selling quickly, with the hottest items in th $800,000 to $1.25 million range. In Colorado, sales of high end homes in some mountain resorts were strong.