The Fed Beige Book is out.
Generally the economy is improving in most districts, but inflation is up.
Real estate is still pretty mediocre.
The full report is here.
Here’s the nut graph:
Most District reports cited comments by both retailers and manufacturers that costs were rising, but indicated that competitive pressures had led to only modest pass-through into final prices. labour markets appeared to be firming somewhat in most Districts, as some modest hiring beyond replacement was said to have occurred and/or was planned in a variety of sectors. At the same time, however, upward pressure on wages was reportedly very limited.
And here’s the word on the labour market:
labour markets in most Districts appear to be firming somewhat, but with virtually no upward pressure on wages. All District reports indicated that employment levels are rising in at least some sectors, generally by modest amounts; however, some employers in the New York, St. Louis, and Minneapolis Districts also mentioned job cuts. Staffing firms in the New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Chicago, and Dallas Districts gave positive reports; Cleveland, Richmond, and Atlanta said some firms were raising work hours instead of or in addition to hiring. The Boston, New York, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, and San Francisco Districts indicated that business contacts planned to continue or increase their pace of hiring in 2011. Some employers in the Boston, Atlanta, and San Francisco Districts expressed concern about added costs for healthcare; the Boston, Cleveland, and Chicago Districts noted selected skill shortages in some sectors. Overall wage pressures remained subdued; the Philadelphia District reported “mostly steady wages,” Cleveland said “wage pressures are contained,” Chicago indicated “wage pressures remained moderate,” Minneapolis and Kansas City stated wage increases or wage pressure “remained subdued,” and the Dallas and San Francisco reports described wage pressures as “minimal” or “largely absent.”