According to the most recent Beige Book from the Federal Reserve, nine out of the 12 Federal Reserve districts indicated expansion of economic activity, although the agricultural and manufacturing sectors were weak.

With the exception of motor vehicles and aerospace, most manufacturing sectors displayed a weakening in activity. Also, fewer districts reported increases in manufacturing activity than decreases during the latest reporting period. Several districts reported the strong dollar’s negative impact on demand, while some noted that low energy prices have had a smaller, mixed effect.

Additionally, districts reported that agricultural sectors weakened overall, and farm incomes were stressed. Flooding and drought in various regions aggravated the effects of already low and falling prices for farm commodities, caused in part by weak global demand and the strong dollar. Unseasonably warm winter weather in much of the nation further depressed energy prices and slowed significant segments of that sector.

On a lighter note, stronger activity tended to be cited for multifamily construction and commercial real estate and overall, most districts reported that loan demand grew, credit quality improved, or loan delinquencies fell, with credit standards changing little.