According to the Beige Book, economic growth rose in all of the 12 districts of the Federal Reserve. Growth in the Boston, New York, Richmond, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas, and San Francisco districts was moderate, while it was modest in the remaining districts.
Federal Reserve: Rise in consumer spending
The Federal Reserve reported that consumer spending rose across almost all of the districts at different levels. Non-auto retail sales increased at a moderate pace in a majority of the parts of the country. Policy makers emphasized that the improvement of the weather generally boosted businesses, except in the Northeast where wintry weather lingered.
More than 50% of the districts reported that sales of new vehicles are also increasingly strong. Some of the districts reported stable sales. The demand for used cars was seen as less robust than demand for new vehicles.
Service industry and manufacturing
The majority of the districts perceived growth in the service industry. Technology companies are growing, according to observations of officials in Boston, Kansan, and San Francisco. The manufacturing sector expanded across the United States, and some of the districts observed an increasingly strong pace of growth, including Kansas City and St. Louis.
Real estate situation
The Beige Book indicated that real estate activity across the country is mixed. Some districts reported low inventories that constrained sales, while home prices continued to increase in most parts of the U.S. Markets for both condominiums and apartments were mostly strong. Activities in residential construction were mixed, with 50% of the districts reporting growth while a few saw slowdowns.
In terms of lending, the Federal Reserve reported that activity increased across the United States. Almost two-thirds of the districts reported rising loan demand, and credit quality and delinquency rates improved.
The Beige Book also showed that the employment situation in the country has “generally strengthened.” The Federal Reserve noted that hiring activity was “steady to stronger” in most parts of the country. Some of the districts reported that there is a shortage of skilled workers.
In terms of wage increases, most districts were generally subdued. Chicago and Dallas reported increased costs for health benefits.