The Federal reserve release their Beige book report this past week, and reported moderate growth across the country. Here are some highlights :
Contact reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest that national economic activity expanded at a modest to moderate pace during the reporting period of late November through the end of December. Seven Districts characterized growth as modest; of the remaining five, New York and Chicago noted a pickup in the pace of growth, Dallas and San Francisco reported moderate growth, and Richmond indicated that activity flattened or improved slightly. Compared with prior summaries, the reports on balance suggest ongoing improvement in economic conditions in recent months, with most Districts highlighting more favorable conditions than identified in reports from the late spring through early fall.
In the Northwest we are in District 12 , headquartered in San Francisco. There are some brighter spots. Holiday retail sales reportedly were up over last year’s season, and demand edged up for business and consumer services. District manufacturing activity grew further on net. Production activity and sales remained robust for agricultural producers and rose a bit further for providers of energy resources. Sales of new automobiles rose further overall during the reporting period, although slightly softer demand was noted for the last few weeks. Demand for used vehicles remained robust, and dealers reported marked improvement in the quality of trade-ins compared with earlier in the year. Sales continued to expand for providers of technology services to businesses and consumers, although the pace of growth continued to slow. District travel activity picked up further, with additional growth in demand reported for the tourism and business segments of the market alike. However nothing to indicate anything but more of the same, slow growth.