Beige Book: Economic activity slowed
According to Federal Reserve’s Beige Book, “economic activity slowed since the previous report”. The report was prepared based on information collected before November 18.
The Beige Book mentioned that demand for labor continued to ease and price increases largely moderated.
Key takeaways from the Beige Book:
Economic activity was flat or down slightly on balance, as prices held mostly steady and labor demand slowed. Retail results were mixed but neutral on average, and restaurant sales fell slightly.
Manufacturers reported modest recent revenue declines, and a few experienced sharp reductions in demand from a year earlier. Staffing services contacts enjoyed modest gains in revenues but noted a slowdown in hiring plans among their clients.
Residential home sales were flat at very low levels, and sales were not expected to rebound until interest rates fell. Commercial real estate activity slowed modestly, and the outlook for office properties was increasingly dim. Outside of real estate, contacts on balance were cautiously optimistic for at least stable activity moving forward.
Employment appeared stable on balance, but hiring activity and hiring plans were dialed back noticeably in some sectors. Wage growth was moderate on average and eased further overall.
Prices were stable on average across First District contacts.
The US Dollar trimmed gains modestly after the report, and equity prices in Wall Street hit fresh daily highs. The US Dollar Index erased gains and is hovering around 102.65, after losing strength during the American session.