Beige Book: Economic Activity Continues at Modest to Moderate Pace 

The economy continued to grow across the Federal Reserve districts at a modest to moderate pace, the Federal Reserve reported yesterday in its final Beige Book release of 2018. However, Dallas and Philadelphia noted slower growth relative to previous periods, and growth in St. Louis and Kansas City was only slight. 

Consumer spending held steady on balance. New home construction and existing home sales declined or held steady, while commercial construction and leasing increased or remained flat. Lending volumes showed modest growth on balance, though a few districts noted slowing. 

Most districts reported slight slowing in employment growth, mostly due to labor shortages in increasingly tight labor markets, though growth continued overall at a modest to moderate pace. Districts also noted slightly faster wage growth, and several reported that firms are enhancing non-wage benefits, including health benefits, profit-sharing bonuses and paid vacation. Read more.