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January 18, 2007 8:00 AM, EST

Fed ‘Beige Book’ Report Reports Weaker Trucking Demand

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The Federal Reserve said Wednesday that its 12 district banks reported a moderate pace of growth and inflation late last year as labor markets tightened, and several regional banks reported softer trucking demand.The Fed districts described “moderate” gains in wages, while a third of the regional banks described price pressures as “easing or moderating,” according to the Fed’s “beige book” survey, released eight times a year.Trucking firms reported slower demand in the Philadelphia and Cleveland districts, while Dallas saw greater demand for trucking and strong demand for rail transportation, the Fed said.In the Atlanta region, trucking companies reported that business conditions remained weak, mainly because of fewer shipping orders from building materials producers. But rail shipments continued to grow, with higher shipments of intermodal containers offsetting lower shipments of autos and building materials.In the Minneapolis region, a truck parts producer reported expanding capacity, while some Minnesota companies noted difficulty in finding long-haul truckers, the Fed said.The latest Beige Book report, based on anecdotal interviews, was prepared by Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis and was based on information collected in the Fed’s 12 districts from Nov. 21 through Jan. 8.