The Fed predicted more pain for the US economy in today's “Beige Book” report, with a turnaround not expected until late 2009 or early 2010, the Wall Street Journal reports. “National economic conditions deteriorated further,” across January and February, the Fed said. In a distressing turn, the slump has spread from the financial and manufacturing sectors into a “wide range” of general services.
Even health care, traditionally seen as recession-proof, has been feeling the downturn: The Fed noted that certain providers were seeing fewer patients because of a decline in elective procedures. Meanwhile, long-depressed areas saw no signs of recovery—"sales of new automobiles and light trucks remained exceptionally sluggish," the Fed said, while housing "remains in the doldrums in most areas.”