Beige Book: 2012 outlook cloudy

Posted 11/1/11

BOSTON – The Federal Reserve Bank of Boston said that its contacts report year-over-year increases but an “uncertain outlook” in its Nov. 30 Beige Book.

First District retailers cited mixed results and increased optimism about 2012; software and IT services continued to see solid demand growth; and staffing firms said results were mixed, but mostly positive.

Nevertheless, those in the manufacturing sector said the outlook for 2012 is “very cloudy” and “virtually all of our manufacturing contacts express misgivings.” When trying to pinpoint the misgivings, some contacts pointed to the crisis in Europe but others simply expressed vague fears, as they have done over the past 18 months.

Several manufacturing firms also cited trouble finding qualified staff – especially for technical positions.

On the commercial real estate front, leasing demand “tapered off” in Providence recently but suburban Rhode Island experienced a modest uptick, the feds said.

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