Economy Continues Growing Slowly, According to Fed Report

The economy continued to grow at a modest-to-moderate pace across the country, according to data published yesterday by the Federal Reserve Board, which was gathered from the 12 different Federal Reserve Banks nationwide.

The data, published in the Fed’s Beige Book report, indicated that consumer spending increased in most regions, demand for loans was higher, and loan payments were generally being made on time.

Most districts reported improvements in employment and continued difficulties in finding skilled trades workers.

The Beige Book report offers an anecdotal snapshot of the economy, with each of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks querying businesses in their regions on different topics, such as real estate, the labor market, industrial activities, and agriculture. Each bank reports a summary of a number of different categories, and those categories are then aggregated to illustrate subjective conclusions. The Beige Book’s strength is that it offers a wealth of information, but does not dive deeply into any one area or topic.

For example, this is from the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond:

“According to a banker in Baltimore, highly-qualified borrowers still have access to credit but may be paying marginally higher rates. Credit quality remained high in West Virginia. Banking contacts in Maryland reported that there were more lenders than borrowers, leading to intense competition. Several contacts across the District mentioned that increased competition had led to some loosening of standards.”

The Beige Book never really offers any “man bites dog” type of big news, but does allow for some general economic conclusions to be made.

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