Skip to content

Beige Book: Overall Economic Activity Expands

Thursday, June 4, 2015
beige book

Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve districts suggest that overall economic activity expanded during the latest reporting period, according to the latest issue of the Beige Book. The St. Louis District1 was one of three to report modest growth. Several districts expected growth to continue at a modest or moderate pace.

Real Estate

Since the previous report, most districts reported expanded activity in and positive outlooks for the residential real estate, commercial real estate and construction sectors. Home prices rose across much of the country, which contacts in some districts attributed to low inventories relative to demand.

Home sales in the St. Louis District increased on a year-over-year basis, and contacts expected demand for single-family homes to stay the same or increase in the next quarter. Commercial and industrial construction activity continues to be positive throughout most of the District, and contacts reported an increase in speculative industrial space.

Labor Markets

Employment levels were up slightly overall during the reporting period, and a slight growth in wages was reported by most districts. The St. Louis District was one of three districts to mention instances of layoffs, though 50 percent of contacts said employment was unchanged from the previous year, and 40 percent said employment was higher or somewhat higher.

Most contacts (60 percent) in the St. Louis District said wages were higher during the past three months than during the same period last year, with the remaining contacts saying that wages remained about the same.

Consumer Spending

Consumer spending increased across most districts, with only the Richmond (retail sales unchanged) and New York (retail sales fell slightly) districts reporting otherwise. Inventory levels were mostly reported as satisfactory, and auto sales were up across most districts.

In the St. Louis District, consumer spending grew at a modest rate since the previous report. Auto dealers reported increased year-over-year sales, on net.

Notes and References

1 The St. Louis District includes all of Arkansas and parts of Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee.

Additional Resources

Posted In Federal ReserveLaborHousing  |  Tagged beige bookreal estatelaborconsumer spending
Commenting Policy: We encourage comments and discussions on our posts, even those that disagree with conclusions, if they are done in a respectful and courteous manner. All comments posted to our blog go through a moderator, so they won't appear immediately after being submitted. We reserve the right to remove or not publish inappropriate comments. This includes, but is not limited to, comments that are:
  • Vulgar, obscene, profane or otherwise disrespectful or discourteous
  • For commercial use, including spam
  • Threatening, harassing or constituting personal attacks
  • Violating copyright or otherwise infringing on third-party rights
  • Off-topic or significantly political
The St. Louis Fed will only respond to comments if we are clarifying a point. Comments are limited to 1,500 characters, so please edit your thinking before posting. While you will retain all of your ownership rights in any comment you submit, posting comments means you grant the St. Louis Fed the royalty-free right, in perpetuity, to use, reproduce, distribute, alter and/or display them, and the St. Louis Fed will be free to use any ideas, concepts, artwork, inventions, developments, suggestions or techniques embodied in your comments for any purpose whatsoever, with or without attribution, and without compensation to you. You will also waive all moral rights you may have in any comment you submit.
comments powered by Disqus

The St. Louis Fed uses Disqus software for the comment functionality on this blog. You can read the Disqus privacy policy. Disqus uses cookies and third party cookies. To learn more about these cookies and how to disable them, please see this article.