It may sound drab, but the Fed's Beige Book is an economic gold mine.
Formally titled Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, as it's commonly known, is a one-stop reference on the nation's economy. Issued eight times yearly, the book provides detailed stats and opinions on the sentiment of the local business community, the strength of various business sectors and other information for each of the Fed's 12 districts. The Summary makes for fast reading, and is a good way to take the pulse of a region and of the nation. Decision-makers at investment houses and large corporations swear by the Beige Book, and now the Web puts the same info in your hands, free of charge: http://www.bog.frb.fed.us/fomc/BeigeBook/Current