The Fed’s Beige Book, released on Wednesday, showed that the US economy had slowed in many parts of the US in recent weeks. Of the 12 Fed Districts, the majority showed “slight or modest” growth, while four reported moderate growth. In April, the prior report had shown moderate growth throughout the entire country.
The Fed said, “Four districts explicitly noted that the pace of growth had slowed since the prior period.”
Complied by the Philadelphia Fed and published 12 times per year, the Beige Book is a report based on anecdotal information gathered from the Fed’s 12 regional banks. It is typically released a couple of weeks before the Federal Open Market Committee meets and sets monetary policy, an event presently scheduled for June 14th -15th.
The report found manufacturing growth continued in most districts, while retail showed some softening due to inflation, and residential real estate weakened due to high prices and rising mortgage rates.
For businesses, finding workers was the biggest problem noted, just ahead of supply chain issues.
Eight Districts reported that future growth prospects had diminished and three, Boston, Philadelphia, and Dallas, expressed worries of a recession. The Boston, Cleveland, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, and Kansas City districts all mentioned China’s COVID lockdowns.
Inflation was described as “strong” or “robust” in most districts. Two noted their inflation was a continuation of a pre-existing trend, while three, Philadelphia, Boston, Richmond, noted it had moderated. About half of the districts reported that businesses had the power to pass price increases on to consumers, but more than half noted that customer pushback in response to higher prices, with smaller orders or brand substitutions, was beginning to impinge on that power.
A Missouri manufacturer referred to both sales staff and customers as “numb” to continued increases.