Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Fed's Beige Book: Modest to moderate expansion, Tightening labor market

by Bill McBride on 11/30/2016 02:33:00 PM

Fed's Beige Book "Prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland based on information collected on or before November 18, 2016."

Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicate that the economy continued to expand across most regions from early October through mid-November. Activity in the Boston, Minneapolis, and San Francisco Districts grew at a moderate pace, while Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, and Dallas cited modest growth. Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Kansas City cited a slight pace of growth. Richmond characterized economic activity as mixed, and New York said activity has remained flat since the last report. Outlooks were mainly positive, with six Districts expecting moderate growth.
...
A tightening in labor market conditions was reported by seven Districts, with modest employment growth on balance. Districts noted slight upward pressure on overall prices..
emphasis added
And on real estate:
Residential real estate activity improved across Districts. Reports about existing- and new-home sales were mixed, but most Districts noted a slight to modest increase during the period. Residential construction was up in the Cleveland, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and Dallas Districts. Home prices grew in many Districts, including Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Atlanta, St. Louis, Kansas City, and San Francisco. Philadelphia reported that the strength of the single-family market is in high-end housing. In contrast, Kansas City reported that sales of low- and medium-priced homes continued to outpace sales of higher-priced homes. Dallas reported that the sales of lower-priced homes remained solid. Home inventories were generally reported to be low or declining and restraining sales growth. Boston, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, and Minneapolis reported low or decreasing inventories. Reports on inventory levels varied in Atlanta, while inventories held steady in Kansas City.

Commercial construction activity moved higher in the New York, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, St. Louis, Kansas City, and San Francisco Districts. In contrast, Minneapolis noted a slowing in commercial construction. The Boston, Richmond, Minneapolis, and San Francisco Districts reported increases in leasing activity, while Philadelphia noted a lull in nonresidential leasing growth compared with the prior period. Dallas reported leasing activity as mostly unchanged. Commercial sales activity continued to be robust in Minneapolis and grew modestly in Kansas City. Ongoing multifamily construction has been steady at a fairly high level in New York. Multifamily construction varied in the Atlanta District and slowed somewhat in Richmond, Minneapolis, and San Francisco.
Real estate is decent.