The Federal Reserve's Beige Book says reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest that national economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace during the reporting period of September through early October. Eight Districts reported similar growth rates in economic activity as during the previous reporting period, while growth slowed some in the Philadelphia, Richmond, Chicago and Kansas City Districts. The report states contacts across Districts generally remained "cautiously optimistic" in their outlook for future economic activity, although many also noted an increase in uncertainty due largely to the federal government shutdown and debt ceiling debate.
In its assessment of agriculture, the report states: "Heavy rains hurt agriculture in the Richmond, Atlanta and Kansas City Districts, even resulting in declarations of some natural disaster areas. At the other extreme, some portions of the Chicago, Minneapolis and Dallas Districts experienced drought conditions, although they eased in some areas over the reporting period. Harvests were reported as behind their normal pace. Nonetheless, crop yields were higher than expected in the Chicago District and about average in the Kansas City District. Strong fruit output was noted in the Richmond, Chicago and Minneapolis Districts. Cotton output was mixed across the South. Prices fell for corn, soybeans, wheat, hay, cotton, hogs, broilers, turkeys and eggs, but rose for rice, citrus, grapes, milk, cattle and dry beans. Livestock producers benefited from lower feed costs, as well as higher beef exports according to the Dallas District. San Francisco reported demand remained strong for most crop and livestock products."