Wednesday, March 01, 2017

Fed's Beige Book: Modest to Moderate expansion, Tight labor markets

by Bill McBride on 3/01/2017 02:09:00 PM

Fed's Beige Book "This report was prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York based on information collected on or before February 17, 2017."

Reports from all twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that the economy expanded at a modest to moderate pace from early January through mid-February. ... Labor markets remained tight in early 2017, with some Districts noting widening labor shortages. Employment grew moderately in most of the nation, though three Districts characterized growth as modest and two reported that it was little changed. A number of Districts noted that staffing firms were seeing brisk business for this time of year, and one noted more conversions from temporary to permanent workers. In general, wages in most Districts rose modestly or moderately, with a few reporting some pickup in the pace of wage growth. A number of Districts noted that shortages of skilled workers--particularly engineers and IT workers--were driving up their wages, and there were also some reports of labor shortages in the leisure and hospitality, construction and manufacturing industries.
emphasis added
And on real estate:
Home construction and sales continued to expand modestly in most Districts, while residential rental markets were mixed. Home prices were steady to up modestly in most Districts, and a number of Districts noted low inventories of existing homes. Commercial real estate construction grew modestly, and sales and leasing activity grew moderately. Lending activity was steady to somewhat higher.
Note that residential rental markets "were mixed".