The latest “Beige Book” released this week by the Federal Reserve shows that U.S. economic activity in the non-financial service sector was either steady or improving across the country through the end of August, expanding at a modest pace. Manufacturing and agriculture were the two weak spots as of late summer.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland reported that economic activity in Ohio and parts of neighboring states remained steady as well. This as competition for skilled labor led to higher wages in manufacturing, construction, and professional and business services. Manufacturers in the Cleveland Fed’s district saw weaker demand and elevated inventories “because uncertainty led their customers to delay capital expenditures.” Some manufacturers said the slowdown “was a return to normal following more than a year of hectic activity,” while the outlook for the coming months was mixed.
According to MarketWatch, “Fed officials are split about how to respond to fears of a sharper downturn,” but most economists think interest rates will be lowered by a quarter-point at the next policy meeting in two weeks. 9/4/2019