Fed Beige Book says US growth steady


And though a number of districts reported shortages of workers with specific skills - information technology workers, truck drivers, energy sector workers and construction workers - wages were mostly unchanged, suggesting some slack remains in the jobs market.

Wednesday's report, which is used by the Federal Open Market Committee to help shape monetary policy, was cautiously upbeat, as has been the case since the end of the first quarter, when extremely harsh winter weather forced the economy to contract.

The rebound since then has been firm but its strength remains in question, with the survey, covering late July and August, noting only "slight to moderate" gains in consumer spending and real estate and construction weakness in half of the Fed's 12 districts.

The survey of regional economies reiterated the "modest to moderate" description of activity of the past half-year, but noted that in a number of regions, there are some signs of tightening in the labour market, with companies having trouble filling skilled positions.

Five districts reported that contacts "generally remained optimistic about future growth; most of the other districts cited various examples of ongoing optimism from specific sectors.

However, the report noted that "among districts reporting on their firms' near-term expectations, the manufacturing outlook remained generally upbeat.

Read more here: Business Spectator


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