Fed Reserve: Manufacturing Activity Is A Mixed Bag Depending On The District

The Federal Reserve’s Beige Book indicated that overall manufacturing activity was slow, but the results varied depending on location.

ST. LOUIS, Mo. - The Federal Reserve on Wednesday released its “Beige Book,” with modest to moderate results on economic activity across the nation.

For manufacturing, overall activity was slow, with weaker reports from manufacturers involved with the residential construction sector.

However, results varied by district — Dallas and Minneapolis expanded and Chicago was steady. Boston and San Francisco were mixed, but New York, Richmond, St. Louis and Kansas City were weak.

Commercial aircraft and aviation products saw increased demand in some districts and steel shipments rose in Cleveland and Dallas. Atlanta and Chicago intend to increase capacity in steel industries.

Chicago and Minneapolis saw increased demand for farm machinery and food manufacturers had increased activity in Cleveland and San Francisco.

Boston, Cleveland, Chicago and St. Louis indicated a weakening in the auto and auto-related product industry. 

Energy and mining activity remained high since the last report. Kansas City and Dallas indicated a slowing in energy, but activity was still high.

The labor market remained tight, but some districts indicated employment level expansions. Areas of New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Kansas City and Dallas had worker shortages. Boston, Richmond, Atlanta, Kansas City, Dallas and San Francisco noted problems in hiring skilled workers.

New York, Cleveland, Chicago and Kansas City had reports of hiring increases. Philadelphia and Richmond saw an increased demand for temporary workers.

Wages saw modest increases in some industries in New York, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas and San Francisco. Dallas reported downward pressures on wages as a result of layoffs by homebuilders and manufacturers. San Francisco reported an ease in construction and agriculture.

Input prices rose in most districts, namely for metals and raw materials. Lumber prices declined across several districts. Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, Kansas City and Dallas saw higher energy and/or fuel costs.

Due to the higher input prices, some manufacturers in Boston, Cleveland, Chicago and Dallas indicated that they were able to raise output prices, while manufacturers in Kansas City and San Francisco responded that they could not.

To view the full report, click here.

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