The Federal Reserve, in its Beige Book economic summation, released at 2:00 PM (EST), suggested that economic activity was continuing to increase at a modest to moderate pace across the country, although there had been slight improvement in the outlook in recent weeks. The Beige Book is a Federal Reserve System publication of current economic conditions across the 12 Federal Reserve Districts.
According to the central bank, the improvement was noted from October through mid-November. This publication is used by the lead bank to help formulate monetary policy at its upcoming FOMC meeting. The next FOMC gathering will be in mid-December. Expectations have been that the bank would raise interest rates at that time. The Beige Book did nothing to alter that forecast. As to the publication, it noted, that pre-holiday retail and auto spending trends were mixed.
In other areas, many Districts reported growth in the transportation sector, little change in residential construction, slight gains in non-residential building, and steady loan demand. Also, employment growth was continuing at a modest to moderate pace, with labor tightness being experienced across many Districts. Wage growth, too, was modest or moderate, while pricing pressures, in general, now were strengthening.
All in all, there were no material surprises in this report, with the stock market showing little reaction following its release. As before, the Dow Jones Industrial Average remained nicely higher, while the NASDAQ continued to trend lower.
At the time of this article’s writing, the author did not have positions in any of the companies mentioned.