Beige Book Qualitative Data on how the American Economy is recovering indicates that economic activity continued to expand through the end of 2014. Qualitative Data –comments and interviews- collected on before January 5th 2015 by the twelve districts of the Federal Reserve System show that Consumer Spending and Manufacturing increased in most of the districts. In general, demand for credit grew as well as the quality of the credit. Payroll expanded moderately while prices did so slightly. In contrast, Dallas District reported expected concerns due to falling oil prices, which also impacted the overall demand for energy-related services.
This version of the Beige Book was prepared by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, but it does not reflect the Fed official’s opinion. Nonetheless, qualitative data contained in the Beige Book help economist to make sense of the overall picture of the performance of the economy. Actually, the Beige Book may give key hints for economic forecast.
Further details by industry indicate that Consumer spending and Tourism increased in most of the Districts, showing a modest year-over-year gains in retail sales during the last 45 days of 2014. Boston, Dallas, Philadelphia and Cleveland Districts reported that their contacts manifested having had slight gains for the last holiday season. Holiday sales in New York and Kansas City were sluggish; though Boston, New York, Atlanta and San Francisco saw increases in tourism. Otherwise, the holiday season in Chicago, Atlanta and San Francisco appears to have been solid during December of 2014.
Non-financial services were restrained on balance and varied across Districts. Dallas District’s contacts reported a flat demand change for the last season of 2014. Boston District’s contacts, on the other hand, reported moderate gains. Kansas City District’s contacts reported a positive balance as they lowered their expectations for the incoming year.
Manufacturing increased in most of the Districts, though in a moderate pace in Boston, New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Atlanta, and Kansas City. Richmond and Cleveland Districts’ contacts manifested small increases either. In spite of showing modest growth in manufacturing, Philadelphia District’s contacts suggested low economic expectations moving forward.
In regards to Real Estates Businesses, sales of single-family home were largely flat on a year-over-year basis for Boston, Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Dallas Districts’ contacts. San Francisco, in contrast, picked up in December as well as Commercial Real Estate in most of the Districts.
Prices increased a bit in almost all of the twelve Districts, and were generally stable in Cleveland, Chicago, and Dallas.
Payroll, as documented for many, expanded during the last season for both permanent and temporal workers. Reports indicate that payroll expanded in Chicago, Philadelphia, Richmond, and Atlanta in almost all sectors. Beige Book asserts that Wages continue to rise for specific workers with particular technical skills.