Beige Book: Six Districts See Moderate Growth

Wednesday, September 02, 2015
beige book

During weeks when the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book is released, the On the Economy blog features a post based on the book on Wednesdays in lieu of the regularly scheduled Thursday post.

Economic activity continued expanding in all 12 Federal Reserve districts, according to the latest Beige Book. Most districts saw a continuation of the overall pace cited in the previous report. The St. Louis District1 was one of six to report moderate growth over the reporting period.

Real Estate

Residential real estate activity improved across the country. Home sales and home prices increased in every district. Construction activity increased in most districts, but five reported moderate or flat activity. Commercial real estate reports were positive on balance.

In the St. Louis District, residential real estate activity continued to expand at a steady pace. Construction activity is expected to continue to increase through the fourth quarter. Commercial and industrial real estate market conditions were positive throughout the District.

In the District’s largest metropolitan statistical areas, June year-over-year home sales increased:

  • 7 percent in Little Rock
  • 20 percent in Louisville
  • 13 percent in Memphis
  • 16 percent in St. Louis

Labor Markets

Most districts reported slight or modest growth in employment since the previous Beige Book. Six districts—including the St. Louis District—reported labor shortages for certain skills or difficulty finding workers, especially for IT and other technical positions.

Wages were relatively stable in most districts, though several districts reported increasing wage pressures caused by labor market tightening. Nearly three-fifths of responding firms in the St. Louis District had higher wages over the past three months compared to the same period one year ago.

Prices and Consumer Spending

Both input and output prices remained stable in most districts. Ten districts reported that prices were mostly flat or had increased slightly. Half of contacts in the St. Louis District said prices charged to customers were about the same during the past three months, relative to last year. Thirty-five percent reported an increase in prices, and the remainder reported a decrease.

Retail sales results varied across the country. Four districts reported a moderate increase in the pace of consumer spending. One district reported that sales rose sharply, another said retail sales were largely flat, while a third district said sales were flat during the survey period and lower compared to a year ago.

Most retail contacts in the St. Louis District said sales were at or above 2014 levels, but below expectations. Still, most District contacts were optimistic that retail sales will stay on pace or improve in the coming months.

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.

Subscribe to
On the Economy

Get notified when new content is available on our On the Economy blog.

Email Alerts  |  RSS

About the Blog

The St. Louis Fed On the Economy blog features relevant commentary, analysis, research and data from our economists and other St. Louis Fed experts.


Views expressed are not necessarily those of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis or of the Federal Reserve System.

Contact Us

For media-related questions, email mediainquiries@stls.frb.org. For all other blog-related questions or comments, email on-the-economy@stls.frb.org.

Categories