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--Key Things We Learned From The Sept. 4 Beige Book
By Evan Ryser
WASHINGTON (MNI) - U.S. economic activity continued at a modest
pace through August as tariffs and general trade uncertainty continued
to weigh and overall manufacturing activity weakened slightly from the
previous report, according to the Federal Reserve's latest report on
Current Economic Conditions.
Here are some key points from the report known as the Beige Book,
as compiled by the Atlanta Fed based on information gathered through
- Most Fed districts reported slight to modest growth. The Atlanta
district saw a moderation in growth, reporting softer manufacturing
activity. Two Fed districts, Cleveland and Minneapolis, reported flat
growth as manufacturing slowed.
- The impact of tariffs on pricing were mixed with some districts
anticipating that the effects would not be felt for months, the report
said. Most districts indicated modest price increased since the last
report. However, many manufacturers and some other businesses reported
delaying making investment decisions due to trade uncertainty.
- Price increases were modest overall with retailers and
manufacturers reporting slight increases in input costs. Manufacturing
reported a limited ability to raise prices putting pressure on growth,
while other firms noted an ability to pass along price increases.
- Labor markets stayed tight with the pace of wage growth staying
at a "modest to moderate" level throughout the country. Several
districts cited tight labor markets across segments and skill levels
constraining overall business activity. Labor shortages limited business
expansion in some areas.
- Consumer spending reports were mixed, though auto sales for most
districts grew at a modest pace, on par with the previous reporting
period. Tourism remained solid in most reporting districts. Housing
sales were constrained by a lack of inventory while new home
construction remained flat.
** MNI Washington Bureau: 202-371-2121 **