The economic consequences of the COVID-19 outbreak are being felt throughout all twelve of the Federal Reserve Bank’s districts, according to the most recent issues of the Beige Book.
That publication, which comes out eight times a year and is a summation of the opinions of economists, business leaders, and others in the Federal Reserve Districts, says that interview responses this spring reveal “highly uncertain outlooks among business contacts, with most expecting conditions to get worse in the next several months.”
On the employment front, respondents indicated that job losses in the last few weeks have been “widespread, including the manufacturing and energy sectors.”
“The hardest-hit industries because of social distancing measures and mandated closures, were leisure and hospitality and retail, aside from essential goods,” the report continued.
Despite the job losses, company and business owners indicated their intention to hire back many of the laid-off employees once the coronavirus recedes.
Regarding conditions in western Texas and southern New Mexico, which make up a part of the Federal Reserve’s 11th district, the Beige Book reports that multifamily contractors said the impact of COVID-19 will become more evident in the months ahead, while a “number of land and commercial real estate transactions have been delayed or cancelled as investors take a wait-and-see approach.”
District 10 includes northern New Mexico and Colorado, where, according to the publication, “commercial real estate conditions deteriorated moderately.”
“Residential sales and inventories were flat compared to the previous survey despite a seasonal pickup, and were below year-ago levels,” the report continued, adding that construction projects and retails sales generally showed a decline.
“In the Mountain West, commercial projects generally proceeded, though new project proposals declined noticeably,” the Beige Book noted of activity in District 12, which includes Arizona.
“Some reports highlighted the potential for building owners to face strain if commercial tenants are unable to make rental payments,” the publication added of District 12’s current market dynamics.
By Garry Boulard
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