Exterior view of the United States Capitol Building on a sunny day

Fed Beige Book: Economy improves, but manufacturing weak

Written by Laura Miller

While general economic conditions across the U.S. improved slightly over the last six weeks, activity in the manufacturing sector was weak, according to the U.S. Federal Reserve’s latest economic report.

The Fed’s April 17 Beige Book report said 10 out of 12 districts experienced slight or modest economic growth since its last report in early March. The other two districts reported no changes.

The Beige Book, published eight times per year, highlights current economic conditions across the Fed’s 12 districts and changes in conditions from the previous report.

Only three districts reported growth for the manufacturing sector: Atlanta, Philadelphia, and St. Louis.

Manufacturers in Atlanta reported higher demand stemming from government spending on infrastructure projects.

Meanwhile, five districts reported a slowdown in manufacturing activity, including Minneapolis, Dallas, New York, Richmond, and Kansas City.

In Dallas, manufacturers pointed to weakening demand, political uncertainty, and high input costs as the top three outlook concerns.

In the New York district, “manufacturers generally expect conditions to improve, though optimism has become subdued,” the Fed said.

The Beige Book said residential construction rose slightly, but nonresidential construction activity was flat.

Consumer spending barely increased, the Fed said.

Some shipping delays were reported due to the disruptions in the Red Sea and the Baltimore bridge collapse, but the delays have not caused widespread price increases, the report said.

Latest in Market