According to the most recent Beige Book from the Federal Reserve, the U.S. economy expanded at a modest pace from mid-August to October, although the manufacturing sector generally experienced weaker performance.

One of the primary reasons for what the Fed called a “sluggish” performance from the manufacturing sector was the lack of demand from the energy sector. In addition, some districts said the strengthening of the U.S. dollar restrained manufacturing activity. Even the few districts that reported improvement in manufacturing reported it to be mild. There was a bright spot, as several districts reported relatively strength growth in motor vehicles, aerospace and transportation equipment.

In the banking and finance segment, the Fed said results were mostly positive during the reporting period. Lending activity increased, loan quality was either steady or improved and lending standards stayed the same or remained easier in most districts. Credit conditions were mixed, but mostly improved.

Non-finance services activity general strengthened despite a weakening in freight transport.