Fed Beige Book: Economic Growth Rate Continues

Pending on one’s optimistic or pessimistic disposition, one could say the latest economic data unveiled by the Federal Reserve shows growth staying consistent with statistics collected earlier this summer or, instead, becoming stagnant and underwhelming at a time when a surge was expected.

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book economic roundup of conditions in its 12 districts noted that data collected through August 22 found growth continuing throughout the country with no distinctive shift in the pace, overall. The tone coming in from reports in the district still carries strong hints of optimism of future growth through the end of 2014 and beyond. This is especially so in the Atlanta, Kansas City and Philadelphia districts. The latter, along with several other markets including Dallas noted record-levels in auto sales, which has become manufacturing’s pace-setter in recent times.  Manufacturing, overall, did stand out as one of the most mixed sectors during the mid-summer weeks, with positive news relegated almost entirely to those in the East Coast.

Also failing to show a consensus was credit, according to the Beige Book. Though credit standards were largely unchanged, credit quality improved while delinquencies fell in only half of the districts.

There were consistent, solid improvements throughout the country in the nonfinancial service, tourism and agricultural sectors. The latter included forecasts of improved crop turnouts and increased domestic energy production (oil and gas, but not coal).

- Brian Shappell, CBA, CICP, NACM staff writer

To view the Federal Reserve’s most recent Beige Book in its entirety, visit http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy/beigebook/beigebook201409.htm.  

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