Six of the 12 Federal Reserve districts reported little or no change in economic activity through the end of February, according to the Federal Reserve latest Beige Book survey of conditions.
The other six districts indicated growth expanded at a modest pace, the report said.
As a result, nationwide activity increased only slightly, the Fed report concluded.
That fits with the forecast of a slight 0.4% decline in first quarter GDP from S&P Global Market Intelligence, a leading forecasting firm. The government data won’t be released until the end of April.
The Beige Book is a collection of anecdotal data designed to give central bank officials a feel for conditions on the ground as they meet to plot interest-rate policy later this month.
It is a companion to the secret Green Book of economic data that Fed officials receive from the Fed staff as they prepare for their monetary policy discussions. These reports are only made public after five years.
According to the latest report, written this time by the staff of the New York Fed, inflation pressures remained widespread. Underneath this headline, conditions were mixed. Many districts said price increases moderated. Energy and raw material prices were reported to be rising, although there was relief in shipping and freight costs.
There were some reports that firms are finding it hard to pass on cost increases to their customers. That’s good news because it might be a signal that inflation can moderate without a sharp rise in unemployment.
For now, labor market conditions remained healthy, according to the report. Employment continued to increase despite hiring freezes by some firms and scattered reports of layoffs.
In other highlights, consumer spending held steady. Some districts had a concern with rising credit card debt.
Travel and tourism remained bright spots. Manufacturing, which had become a worry, was reported to have stabilized.
A few districts reported that firms are becoming less flexible about remote work options.
were lower in mid-afternoon trading. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note
rose slightly to just below 4%.
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