The Federal Reserve has just released its Beige Book, summarizing current economic conditions in the U.S. The opening section gives an overview of national activity, and sees economic growth expanding at a “modest to moderate” pace.
Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest that national economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace during the reporting period of early July through lateAugust. Eight Districts characterized growth as moderate; of the remaining four, Boston, Atlanta, and San Francisco reported modest growth, and Chicago indicated activity had improved. Consumer spending rose in most Districts, reflecting, in part, strong demand for automobiles and housing-related goods. Activity in the travel and tourism sector expanded in most areas. Demand for nonfinancial services, including professional and transportation services, increased slightly on net. Manufacturing activity expanded modestly. Residential real estate activity increased moderately in most Districts, and demand for nonresidential real estate gained overall. Lending activity was mixed. Lending standards were largely unchanged, while credit quality improved. Demand for agricultural products was strong during the reporting period, but growing conditions and production in some areas were somewhat weak as a consequence of extreme weather. Demand for natural resource products was stable or up slightly, and
extraction increased in anticipation of further demand growth.
For most occupations and industries, hiring held steady or increased modestly relative to the prior reporting period. Upward price pressures remained subdued, and prices increased slightly during the reporting period. Wage pressures continued to be modest overall.
The below charts and data track the Federal Reserve interest rate policy, dual mandate measurements, history of quantitative easing, and the impact of that easing on the equity market.