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NEW YORK CITY-The Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its latest Beige Book that the tristate region’s economy has strengthened further since its last report in mid-April, noting particularly that commercial real estate activity in the New York City metro area has picked up lately. The Fed’s report comes as CB Richard Ellis says Manhattan’s leasing volume during May spiked by more than one million square feet over the previous month.

“Leasing activity, which was very depressed throughout most of 2009, has picked up noticeably since the beginning of this year and is now back up to ‘normal’ levels,” according to the Fed.  It notes that much of the recent pickup has come from legal firms “and, to a lesser extent, from business services, media, and government agencies. In contrast, there has been a dearth of new leasing by financial firms.”

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