Guest post by Jay Hawk at Orbex
September 4th, 2014
The Federal Reserve released its latest Beige Book report yesterday, which indicated that all twelve Fed districts had reported an expansion in economic activity in August. This was positive news for the United States, although the report showed that the rate of growth did not significantly change from the previous month.
According to the Feds Beige Book, The New York, Cleveland, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas, and San Francisco Districts characterized their growth rates as moderate; Philadelphia, Atlanta, St. Louis, and Kansas City reported modest growth. Boston reported that business activity appeared to be improving, and Richmond reported further strengthening. Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, Kansas City, and Dallas explicitly reported that contacts in their Districts generally remained optimistic about future growth; most of the other Districts cited various examples of ongoing optimism from specific sectors.
Consumer spending also showed improvement in most districts, with changes running from slight to moderate. Furthermore, the non-financial services sector showed overall improvement. Reports on manufacturing for most districts were mixed, with a generally upbeat outlook in four of the districts.
The Feds Beige Book also showed that real estate activity in the sales of existing homes and new home construction had expanded or was steady in approximately half of the districts, and price pressures were also largely unchanged overall.
In addition, the Feds survey of labor market conditions shows they were relatively unchanged as measured by hiring trends. Nevertheless, there were continued reports of difficulty for employers finding skilled workers.