You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

New England adding jobs, but slowly

Slow job growth continues across New England, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday, with the manufacturing and retail sectors reporting gains in sales or revenue, consulting and advertising firms “generally upbeat,” and demand for residential real estate increasing.

The report, known as the Beige Book, is issued eight times a year and uses anecdotal information from interviews with businesses to analyze the economic climate in the Federal Reserve’s 12 districts.

Continue reading below

In the New England district, some businesses expressed concern that the presidential election, domestic politics generally, and the potential expiration of some tax benefits in January could slow hiring as well as demand, particularly in the commercial real estate ­sector.

Leasing activity in the Boston area was down, the report said, largely because of political uncertainty.

Sales of single-family homes and condominiums continued to improve, despite a slight decline in median sales prices.

Properties in “move-in” condition were in the greatest demand, the report said, noting that such properties are receiving multiple bids, sometimes above the seller’s asking price.

Low mortgage interest rates and the increasingly high cost of renting have contributed to the overall uptick in sales.

Retailers said that while furniture sales picked up after having declined this summer and spending on apparel and household items remained strong, they largely expected the nation’s economy to remain flat over the next six to eight months. They were “cautiously optimistic” that their 2012 revenues will end up slightly ahead of those from 2011.

A pick-up in domestic and international business travel has benefited Boston, and 2012 is expected to be the industry’s best since 1999-2000.

In the manufacturing sector, the report said,companies were “somewhat tentative,” which it attributed to the fact that many are engaged in annual planning cycles for 2013.

Officials at one pharmaceutical company in the region said they planned to hire about 1,000 people over the next year, mostly in sales and marketing.

(The Beige Book does not identify businesses by name.)

Meanwhile, other companies said they were “re-evaluating their benefits structures as a way to conserve cash,” ­according to the report.

An unprecedented number of mergers and acquisitions in the health care industry have caused demand for medical consulting services to skyrocket, the report said.

And while health care companies and other firms cited worries about an economic slowdown, none said they anticipated another recession.

Their overall tone was described in the report as “cautiously optimistic.”

Megan Woolhouse can
be reached at
mwoolhouse@globe.com.
Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.