Beige Book: Economy Continues to Expand

Economic activity continued to expand across most of the twelve Federal Reserve Districts over the early October to mid-November period, according to the just-released Federal Reserve Beige Book. Most Federal Reserve Districts reported “moderate,” “modest,” or “slight” growth. However, Richmond described economic activity as mixed, while the New York District reported no change in activity.

Banking conditions were primarily stable, with minor improvements seen in loan demand. District reports indicated that the demand for credit varied widely. Credit quality was unchanged across most Districts, with improvements seen in New York, Philadelphia, and Chicago.

Consumer spending was mixed this period. Most Districts reported retail sales slightly higher or expanding at a moderate pace. Motor vehicle sales declined slightly in most reporting Districts during the period, while tourism was mostly positive relative to year-earlier levels.

Even though agricultural conditions varied widely, farmers across reporting Districts were generally satisfied with this year’s harvests. However, low commodity prices continue to weigh on farm income. Many of the reporting Districts continued to see slow improvements in the energy sector as well.

Employment continued to expand during the reporting period. Most Districts saw employment rise at a moderate or modest pace. Wage growth was once again characterized generally as modest across the Districts, while there was slight price growth during the period.

Read the full Federal Reserve report.