Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Beige Book: Economic Activity Continued to Expand

Economic activity continued to expand in all 12 districts, according to the 8th Federal Reserve Beige Book of 2014 covering the period from October through mid-November. Many districts also noted being optimistic about the outlook for future economic activity.

Lending activity improved on net, as business lending increased for most loan types. Consumer lending increased as well, and several districts reported continued strength in demand for auto loans. A few districts noted aggressive competition on loan pricing and terms or an easing of loan standards.

Consumer spending continued to advance in most districts; some Fed contacts attributed the higher spending trend to lower gasoline prices and an early cold spell spurring sales of winter apparel.

Employment gains were pervasive throughout the districts, as several noted an increase in temporary staffing and an increase in temporary-to-permanent job transitions. Most districts reported little change in holiday-related hiring relative to last year.

Construction and real estate activity expanded, but in varying degrees across the districts. Residential construction increased on balance as multifamily construction remained stronger than single-family construction in many districts.

Overall price and wage inflation remained subdued. Several districts cited the decline in the price of oil and its effects on gasoline and diesel prices.

Read the Federal Reserve release.

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