Fed’s Beige Book shows economic expansion across all districts
The Federal Reserve’s latest Beige Book reads, “Economic activity expanded across all twelve Federal Reserve Districts in June, with the pace of growth ranging from slight to moderate.
In addition, the majority of Districts expected modest to moderate gains in the months ahead. Consumer spending appears to be rising across a majority of Districts, led by increases in non-auto retail sales and tourism. However, many Districts noted some softening in consumer spending, particularly in auto sales which declined in half of the Districts.
Manufacturing and nonfinancial services activity continued to grow, with most Districts reporting modest to moderate gains since the last report. Loan demand was steady to increasing in most Districts.
Residential and nonresidential construction activity was flat to expanding in most Districts.
Most Districts cited low home inventory levels in certain market segments which were constraining home sales in many areas.
Agricultural conditions were mixed across the nation as moisture conditions varied considerably; several Districts continued to report weakness in dairy and some crop sectors due to low prices.
Energy activity generally improved since the last survey, particularly for oil and natural gas. Coal production remained sluggish although higher than year-ago levels.”
Employment and Wages
Employment across most of the nation maintained a modest to moderate pace of expansion, although the Atlanta and St. Louis Districts noted flat employment levels.
Labor markets tightened further for both low- and high-skilled positions, particularly in the construction and IT sectors.
Contacts across a broad range of industries reported a shortage of qualified workers which had limited hiring. Wages continued to grow at a modest to moderate pace in most Districts, and many firms attributed these wage gains to tighter labor market conditions.
Wage pressures generally trended with employment conditions, and rising wage pressures were noted among both low- and high-skilled positions.
A few Districts also reported rising costs of benefits and variable pay.
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