US Fed reports “modest economic growth”

WASHINGTON, June 1 (KUNA) — The US Federal Reserve on Wednesday described “modest economic growth” across the 12 Federal Reserve Districts in its ‘Beige Book’ report since March.
The Beige Book, which is a summary on current US economic conditions published eight times a year, said that economic activity in April through mid-May increased at a moderate pace.
Chicago noted that the pace of growth slowed, as did Kansas City. Dallas reported that economic activity grew marginally, while New York characterized activity as generally flat since the last report.
Several districts noted that contacts had generally optimistic outlooks, with firms expecting growth either to continue at its current pace or to increase.
The energy sector remained weak. Employment grew modestly since the last report, but tight labor markets were widely noted; wages grew modestly, and price pressure grew slightly in most Districts.
Consumer spending was up modestly on balance in many Districts, though contacts in the Boston, Cleveland, Minneapolis, and Dallas Districts reported mixed or flat activity, and New York reported weakened sales.
Many Districts reported modest growth in nonfinancial services. Manufacturing activity was mixed across Districts.
Construction and real estate activity generally expanded since the last report, and the overall outlook among contacts in these industries remained positive.
Overall loan demand was up moderately in all but one of the Districts that reported it, and many Districts reported steady to good credit availability.
Crop conditions were promising in many Districts, but low commodity prices continued to put pressure on agricultural incomes. (end) sd.gb