Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Beige Book: U.S. Economy Grew at “Moderate Pace”

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, released today indicated that economic expansion is continuing at a “moderate pace,” an improvement from the previous report. Most regions have improved since the last report. Reports from Boston, New York, Richmond, Chicago, Minneapolis, Dallas and San Francisco all indicated moderate growth. Cleveland and St. Louis districts saw the pace of growth improve, while the pace slowed slightly in the Kansas City district.

Consumer spending generally expanded, partly due to the improved weather that boosted sales. New vehicle sales were a large driver of consumer spending in over half the districts. Moreover, the warm weather benefited tourism. “Tourism was steady to stronger across most of the country--particularly in most of the eastern seaboard Districts.”

Activity in the service sector is improving, driven by technology firms from the Boston, Kansas City, and San Francisco districts.

The report noted that hiring was “steady to stronger across most of the country.” This stands in contrast to April’s jobs report, which indicated a “mixed by generally positive” in hiring activity. Many districts report difficulty filling qualified workers for high-skilled positions.

Loan demand increased since the last report. New York and San Francisco reported the strongest gains. “Credit quality and delinquency rates generally improved, while credit standards were mostly unchanged.”

Read the Federal Reserve release.

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