Beige Book: Modest Economic Activity, Tight Labor Markets

Economic activity continued to expand modestly across the twelve Federal Reserve Districts from mid-August through early October according to the October 2015 edition of the Federal Reserve Beige Book. Most districts reported modest economic activity, while two districts reported increased activity and one district noted a slight decline in economic activity.

Banking conditions were generally positive, as lending activity increased, loan quality was steady to improved and lending standards were little changed or somewhat easier.

Consumer spending grew modestly during the period. Most districts reported that non-auto sales grew at a modest or moderate rate, while vehicle sales grew more strongly. Nonfinancial services activity generally strengthened.

Labor markets tightened in most districts, as some reported labor shortages, particularly for skilled workers. Wage growth was mostly subdued, though there were some scattered reports of increased wage pressures.

Performance in the manufacturing industry generally weakened, with a number of districts noting adverse effects from the energy sector. Motor vehicles, aerospace and transportation equipment industries reported strength, while metals industries were generally weaker—in part due to the strong dollar.

Read the Federal Reserve release.