Parsing the Beige Book
Originally published on Wednesday, Oct. 16 at 2:29 p.m. EDT. In the Fed's Beige Book, the economy was described as expanding "at a modest to moderate pace," which covered the period of September through early October, thus capturing a few weeks of the partial government shutdown. Here are some relevant comments from the release:
- Consumer spending continued to increase and activity in the travel and tourism sector expanded in most Districts.
- Business spending grew modestly in most districts.
- Employment growth remained modest in September. Several Districts reported that contacts were cautious to expand payrolls, citing uncertainty surrounding the implementation of the Affordable Care Act (Obama care) and fiscal policy more generally.
- Demand for nonfinancial services rose and manufacturing activity also expanded modestly.
- Residential construction continued to increase at a moderate pace. By comparison, non-residential construction again expanded at a slower rate.
- Residential and CRE activity varied across districts, but largely continued to improve.
- Financial conditions were little changed on balance, with lending activity remaining modest in most Districts.
- Price and wage pressures were again limited.