Fed Beige Book: Economic activity steady, manufacturing declines

Written by Laura Miller

While there was little change in economic activity since its last update, the Federal Reserve reported declines in manufacturing in nearly all districts in its January Beige Book update.

The Fed’s economic report, published eight times each year, said there was little or no change in overall economic activity in eight of its twelve districts since its November update.

Three districts – Chicago, Dallas, and Richmond, Va. – experienced modest economic growth, while one district – Kansas City – saw a moderate decline.

In the manufacturing sector, the Chicago and New York districts reported moderate contraction. Minneapolis noted decreasing activity in both construction and manufacturing.

Districts said high interest rates continue to dampen auto sales and limit real estate transactions. However, many sources were hopeful about a potential decline in interest rates.

Causes for economic uncertainty in the districts include waning demand, the 2024 election cycle, and worries about the office market, the report said.

“Firms in most districts cited examples of steady or falling input prices, especially in the manufacturing and construction sectors, and more discounting by auto dealers,” the Book noted.

Laura Miller

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