Economic activity in the Fourth District has continued to grow in recent months, although the pace of expansion has slowed somewhat compared with earlier in the year.
Labor markets in the District have continued to improve. As of April 2017, employment in the District has grown about 0.7 percent, compared with the previous year. The unemployment rate in the District, in turn, has remained stable at about 5.0 percent over the past several months.
Anecdotal reports from District contacts indicate a modest softening of activity in recent months, especially in manufacturing. Contacts attributed this recent development to seasonal factors, as well as to a slowdown in auto manufacturing demand. Contacts noted, however, that compared with a year ago, business activity continues to increase. Retail contacts in the District, on the other hand, have continued to report worsened conditions over the past couple of months.
Fourth District Beige Book
The Beige Book, released 8 times a year, contains reports of economic conditions across the United States by region. Reports are based on information gathered primarily through interviews with business people and are prepared by each of the 12 Federal Reserve Banks for their respective Districts.
Below is the most recent summary from the Fourth District’s Beige Book report.Summary of Economic Activity
Growth in economic activity across the Fourth District slowed to a modest pace during the reporting period. Labor markets continued to expand, with wage pressures noted primarily for high-skilled workers. Upward pressures on prices paid and received eased slightly. Contacts facing higher input prices experienced little pushback from customers when raising their selling prices. Consumer spending at brick-and-mortar establishments remained stable, while new motor vehicle sales rose. Production increased at manufacturing plants, although at a slower pace than in the previous reporting period. Nonfinancial services firms experienced moderate revenue growth overall, but demand was strong for IT and management consulting. Housing market activity picked up as year-to-date unit sales remained above year-ago levels and selling prices were higher. Activity in the commercial real estate market remains elevated. Lending pipelines were satisfactory, but contacts noted softer loan demand in select categories.