Federal Reserve: Economic Activity Continues to Expand - Modern Distribution Management

Log In

Federal Reserve: Economic Activity Continues to Expand

Most of the 12 districts report modest or moderate economic growth.

Most of the twelve Federal Reserve districts reported that their economies continued to expand at a modest or moderate pace from early April through late May since the previous Beige Book report.

The majority of districts continued to report moderate growth in manufacturing activity and in most nonfinancial service sectors. Boston and Chicago signaled that growth in their districts had slowed somewhat to a modest pace since the prior Beige Book period, while New York indicated that activity had flattened out. Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta, St. Louis and Minneapolis all continued to grow at a modest pace. Economic activity in Kansas City, Dallas and San Francisco increased moderately.

Of the eight firms contacted in mid-May, three reported lower sales, one reported flat sales, and the balance reported higher sales. Reasons for weakness were varied. The outlook was generally positive but cautious.

Construction of new homes and nonresidential structures also continued to grow at modest to moderate rates, as did sales of existing homes; nonresidential leasing picked up a bit. Lending volume trends tended to mirror (and support) the general activity of the economy.

Consumer spending softened with many districts noting little or no change in non-auto retail sales, while auto sales have edged down from last year's record highs in several Districts; tourism activity has continued to keep pace with the general economy. Agricultural conditions remained mixed with some regions negatively affected by unusually wet weather. Most energy sectors tended to modestly improve.

On balance, pricing pressures were little changed from the prior report, with most districts reporting modest increases. Rapidly rising costs for lumber, steel, and other commodities tended to push input costs higher for some manufacturers and the construction sector. In contrast, some districts noted falling prices for certain final goods, including groceries, apparel, and autos. Energy prices and farm prices were mixed across products and among districts. Low inventories of for-sale homes were pushing house prices higher in many markets.

Labor markets continued to tighten, with most districts citing shortages across a broadening range of occupations and regions. Despite supply constraints impeding the ability of firms to attract and retain qualified workers, most districts reported that employment continued to grow at a modest to moderate pace. Similarly, most firms across the districts noted little change to the recent trend of modest to moderate wage growth, although many firms reported offering higher wages to attract workers where shortages were most severe. A manufacturing firm in the Chicago district reported attracting better applicants and improving retention for its unskilled workforce by raising wages 10 percent.

Share this article

About the Author
Recommended Reading
Leave a Reply

Leave a Comment

Sign Up for the MDM Update Newsletter

The MDM update newsletter is your best source for news and trends in the wholesale distribution industry.

Get the MDM Update Newsletter

Wholesale distribution news and trends delivered right to your inbox.

Sign-up for our free newsletter and get:

  • Up-to-date news in a quick-to-read format
  • Free access to webcasts, podcasts and live events
  • Exclusive whitepapers, research and reports
  • And more!


articles left

Want more Premium content from MDM?

Subscribe today and get:

  • New issues twice each month
  • Unlimited access to mdm.com, including 10+ years of archived data
  • Current trends analysis, market data and economic updates
  • Discounts on select store products and events

Subscribe to continue reading

MDM Premium Subscribers get:

  • Unlimited access to MDM.com
  • 1 year digital subscription, with new issues twice a month
  • Trends analysis, market data and quarterly economic updates
  • Deals on select store products and events



You have one free article remaining

Subscribe to MDM Premium to get unlimited access. Your subscription includes:

  • Two new issues a month
  • Access to 10+ years of archived data on mdm.com
  • Quarterly economic updates, trends analysis and market data
  • Store and event discounts

To continue reading, you must be an MDM Premium subscriber.

Join other distribution executives who use MDM Premium to optimize their business. Our insights and analysis help you enter the right new markets, turbocharge your sales and marketing efforts, identify business partners that help you scale, and stay ahead of your competitors.

Register for full access

By providing your email, you agree to receive announcements from us and our partners for our newsletter, events, surveys, and partner resources per MDM Terms & Conditions. You can withdraw consent at any time.

Learn More about Custom Reports

Request a Market Prospector Demo

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.