Beige Book Update Shows Some National, Little Regional Growth


By Kenneth Hunter

NOTE: The following represents the analysis-based opinion of the author and do not reflect those of his employer or any other affiliations.

The Federal Reserve released its latest update of national and regional economic activity on July 27th. Overall, national activity appears to be improving across most sectors, while results indicate minimal growth in the mid-Atlantic states, including North Carolina.

National Highlights

  • Continued economic growth, though “the pace has moderated in many Districts”
  • Reduction in gas prices helped increase consumer spending
  • Continued improvement in nonfinancial services
  • Increased transportation activity
  • Manufacturing improving, with optimistic outlooks from parties in several districts
  • Little change in current residential real estate conditions, while nonresidential real estate improved
  • Some growth in commercial and business loan activity, and little improvement in supply of quality credit conditions
  • Agriculture sector stressed by extreme summer heat and drought in several areas
  • Continued strength in energy sector activity
  • Softening or little change on hiring, with wage pressures “subdued”
  • Price pressures “moderated”, in part because firms cannot pass along actual costs increases to customers because of market conditions
Richmond District/Mid-Atlantic Highlights
  • Overall activity was relatively unchanged
  • June improvement in manufacturing stalled in July
  • July port activity improved, compared to June, though soft conditions persist with respect to imports and inventory
  • Retail performance was mixed
  • Improvement in service sector
  • Increased loan demand
  • Pick-up in real estate activity, compared to last year
  • Slight labor market improvement, especially with temporary staffing
  • “Fantastic” July for tourism industry
“Beige Book” reports are compiled 8 times per year. The July 27th report can be accessed online at this link.

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