According to the most recent Beige Book from the Federal Reserve, economic activity expanded from mid-May through June in all 12 sectors. The majority of those sectors grew at either a moderate or modest pace.
In terms of specifics, consumer spending generally experienced growth, especially in automobile sales. In some districts, lower energy costs were the primary cause for the strengthening in consumer spending.
Unfortunately, transportation and manufacturing activity was more uneven during the time frame. While manufacturing increased in regions like Philadelphia and Chicago, Cleveland, Kansas City and Dallas all reported declines. A stronger dollar, which caused a diminishing of exports, and a slowdown in the oil and gas industry were mostly to blame.
In keeping with the mixed motif, reports of commercial and industrial loan growth ran the gambit from positive in Philadelphia to flat in Chicago. Loan volume increased at a modest rate in several sectors as well.
Employment and wage pressures both picked up overall, although several districts reported shortages of skilled labor, especially in the construction industry. Downsizing in the solar energy sector was also reported.
The general optimism put forth by the Beige Book has led many to believe that the Fed will move to raise interest rates sooner rather than later.
Access the full Beige Book here.