September 03, 2014

Fed: Economic activity expanding

The Federal Reserve released its Beige Book Wednesday, reporting that all 12 Federal Reserve districts indicated that economic activity expanded during the current reporting period, which ended Aug. 22.

"However," the Beige Book noted, "none of the Districts pointed to a distinct shift in the overall pace of growth."

NAFCU Chief Economist and Director of Research Curt Long said this report was "more of the same" for many of the economic trends tracked in the Beige Book. "In particular," Long said, "the report noted that employment growth was evident, but that wage growth has not yet followed. Unless wage and price growth increase, the Federal Reserve will not feel substantial pressure to raise rates earlier than planned."

Also of note in this month's Beige Book:

  • General consumer spending grew in most Fed districts.
  • Residential real estate activity – particular regarding the sales of existing homes and construction of new homes – "generally expanded or held steady in about half of the Districts," the report said.
  • Loan demand rose in eight districts and held steady in one. The Beige Book noted "auto lending was the category most often cited as growing."
  • Labor market conditions throughout the districts improved since the last Beige Book report, but "most Districts noted that wage pressures remained modest outside of some skilled positions."