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Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Fed's Beige Book: "Apartment leasing started to slow"

by Calculated Risk on 11/30/2022 04:41:00 PM

Fed's Beige Book "This report was prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston based on information collected on or before November 23rd, 2022."

Economic activity was about flat or up slightly since the previous report, down from the modest average pace of growth in the prior Beige Book period. Five Districts reported slight or modest gains in activity, and the rest experienced either no change or slight-to-modest declines. Interest rates and inflation continued to weigh on activity, and many contacts expressed greater uncertainty or increased pessimism concerning the outlook. Nonauto consumer spending was mixed but, on balance, eked out slight gains. Inflation pushed low-to-moderate income consumers to substitute increasingly to lower-priced goods. Travel and tourism contacts, by contrast, reported moderate gains in activity, as restaurants and high-end hospitality venues enjoyed robust demand. Auto sales declined slightly on average, but sales increased significantly in a few Districts in response to higher inventories. Manufacturing activity was mixed across Districts but up slightly on average. Demand for nonfinancial services was flat overall but softened in some Districts. Higher interest rates further dented home sales, which declined at a moderate pace overall but fell steeply in some Districts; apartment leasing started to slow, as well. Residential construction slid further at a modest pace, while nonresidential construction was mixed but down slightly on average. Commercial leasing weakened slightly, and office vacancies edged up. Bank lending saw modest further declines amid increasingly weak demand and tightening credit standards. Agricultural conditions were flat or up a bit, and energy sector activity increased slightly on balance.

Employment grew modestly in most districts, but two Districts reported flat headcounts and labor demand weakened overall. Hiring and retention difficulties eased further, although labor markets were still described as tight. Scattered layoffs were reported in the technology, finance, and real estate sectors.
emphasis added