The most recent edition of the Federal Reserve Board’s Beige Book, looking at the country’s economic activities as of late November, reveals uniformly moderate economic growth across all of the board’s twelve districts.
The publication, based upon interviews with business and community leaders, as well as economists and markets experts, is valued not because of the hard numbers it may provide, but because of the anecdotal and attitudinal takes offered by participants in the field.
The new report indicates that respondents in four of the dozen districts revealed “little to no growth,” with another five saying that economic activity remained “below pre-pandemic levels for at least some sectors.”
Overall, the report notes “higher-than-average growth of manufacturing, distribution, and logistics, homebuilding, and existing home sales.”
Continues the Beige Book: “Banking contacts in numerous Districts reported some deterioration of loan portfolios, particularly for commercial lending” for the retail and hospitality sectors.
Northern New Mexico and Colorado comprise a part of the Kansas City-based 10th District, which saw a moderate increase in residential and real estate activity, “while commercial real estate conditions continued to worsen at a modest pace.”
Construction supply sales in the 10th District “continued to rise modestly, but were expected to decline heading into the winter months.”
Southern New Mexico and west Texas are a part of the 11th District, which is based in Dallas. Interviewees in this district reported that activity in the housing market remained robust, while “home sales continued to outperform expectations, particularly in suburban locations, and inventories remained exceptionally light.”
Builders in the 11th District said they were “raising home prices both to cover higher construction costs and to slow down sales, given the heavy backlogs. New home development was active, and contacts noted that builders and developers were chasing land and lots.”
The 12th District, based in San Francisco, includes all of Arizona, where “residential construction activity continued to grow strongly, supported by low interest rates and the current telework environment.”
Contacts throughout the 12th District reported “increased demand for new and existing homes, especially in suburban areas and vacation home destinations, which kept inventories low and raised home prices further.”
“Several contacts noted increases in construction costs and long project timelines due to labor shortages and supply chain disruptions,” 12th District sources additionally reported.
By Garry Boulard
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