The most recent compilation of reports from the nation’s twelve Federal Reserve districts reveals that the U.S. economy this summer has shown signs of an ongoing expansion, although “at a modest pace through the end of August.”
That finding was released in the latest Beige Book, which gathers together the soundings of business leaders in all of the Federal Reserve districts.
“Although concerns regarding tariffs and trade policy uncertainty continued, the majority of businesses remained optimistic about the near-term outlook,” the document reports, while adding that new home construction activity was flat.
The report also said that commercial construction this summer remained steady. But, in a potentially troubling sign, the Beige Book continued,“Districts continued to report strong upward pressure on pay-for-entry-level and low-skill workers, as well as for technology, construction, and some professional services positions.”
In an attempt to address ongoing labor shortages, some district businesses reported that they have been offering increased salaries, as well as enhanced benefit offerings, flexible schedules, and signing bonuses.
Reports from the Kansas City-based 10th District of the Federal Reserve, which includes Colorado and northern New Mexico, indicated that “residential construction activity edged down and was similar to year-ago levels.”
“Commercial real estate activity continued to expand at a modest pace as absorption, completions, construction underway, sales and prices rose, while vacancies fell.”
Reports from the Dallas-based 11th District, which includes southern New Mexico and El Paso, said, “Industrial demand stayed strong and generally in lockstep with the high volume of deliveries. Industrial construction continued to be elevated.”
In the San Francisco-based 12th District, which takes in Arizona, as well as eight other Western states, “Construction activity and demand for single and multi-family homes remained elevated throughout the district, aided by low interest rates and strong employment.”
Officially called the Summary on Current Economic Conditions, the Beige Book is published by the Federal Reserve Board eight times a year.
By Garry Boulard
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