WASHINGTON (10/16/14)--The nation's economic arrow keeps pointing up, at least modestly to moderately, according to the Federal Reserve's monthly Beige Book, a general assessment of the state of the U.S. economy, released Wednesday.
The report, which covers the period between mid-August and September, said that economic activity expanded in all 12 districts tracked by the Fed.
Many of the Midwest and West districts reported moderate upturns in growth, while growth only climbed at a modest pace in the Northeast and South (Economy.com Oct. 15).
"The Federal Reserve's October Beige Book depicts an economy that continues to grow similarly to how it has in recent months," said Christopher Velarides, Moody's analyst (Economy.com). "Most districts report increasing activity across most industries, and the outlook for businesses remains optimistic that the economy is headed in the right direction."
The majority of districts reported overall increases in consumer spending growth, ranging from slight to moderate in pace, similar to recent Beige Book reports.
Residential construction and real estate activity were mixed over the period, the Fed said, while commercial construction and real estate activity increased in most districts.
"Banking conditions continued to improve relative to the previous Beige Book," the Fed added. "Commercial loan volumes increased in nearly all reporting districts. However, consumer loan demand was mixed, and some districts pointed to low or reduced levels of demand for refinancing."
Credit quality also either remained unchanged or improved across each district, the Fed said.
Nonfinancial services improved in several districts, with many districts in both the Northeast and Midwest reporting a higher demand for temporary and permanent workers in consulting, technology and accounting.
Staffing agencies, though, have said a healthier labor market has made it more difficult to find qualified candidates, Moody's said.