Economic activity continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace across the twelve Federal Reserve Districts over the period from mid-February to the end of March, according to the just-released Federal Reserve Beige Book.
Consumer spending varied this period as reports of stronger light vehicle sales were accompanied by somewhat softer readings in non-auto retail spending. Manufacturing continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace across the Districts. Non-financial services continued to expand steadily while energy-related businesses noted improved conditions.
Employment expanded across all Districts at a modest to moderate pace. Labor markets once again remained tight and employers in most Districts reported having more difficulty filling low-skilled positions, although labor demand was stronger for higher skilled workers. Modest wage growth was seen in most Districts, while prices rose modestly since the previous report.
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