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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Beige Book: Loan Demand and Auto Sales Expanding

Economic activity expanded across all twelve Federal Reserve Districts from mid- May through June according to the July 2015 edition of the Federal Reserve Beige Book. Activity across most districts grew at a modest to moderate pace, while growth in Cleveland and Boston held steady.

Banking conditions were positive across most Districts, as overall demand for loans increased. Commercial and industrial loan growth was mixed, ranging from strong in Philadelphia to slow in Dallas. Several districts including Cleveland, Atlanta and San Francisco reported strong growth in auto lending. Credit quality standards and delinquencies were largely unchanged.

Consumer spending increased in each district to varying degrees. Some Districts noted that low energy prices were contributing to improved retail and restaurant sales, while Minneapolis and Dallas cited the strong dollar as causing soft growth along border areas. Auto sales increased in all districts except St. Louis, which experienced mixed sales.

Employment increased across districts. Service-related firms in Boston, Philadelphia, Richmond, St. Louis and Dallas expanded payrolls. Demand for human resource professionals in New York and St. Louis increased, signaling that more hiring may be forthcoming. Manufacturers in Boston and Dallas cited layoffs, while Cleveland, Richmond, and St. Louis reported increasing payrolls. Wage pressures were modest across most of the country.

Manufacturing was uneven across districts. Cleveland, Kansas City and Dallas reported a decline in activity, while Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta and Chicago reported increases. Auto manufacturers reported strong demand, while some districts reported that the strong dollar was weakening export demand.

Read the Federal Reserve release.

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