Best Beige Book Anecdotes: “It’s No Longer Possible To Build A Starter Home For Under $200K In Cleveland,” And More

While many, and certainly the FOMC, tends to gloss over the periodic Beige Book report, it does provide a snapshot of the US economy, if not in quantiative terms, then in qualitative anecdotes, some of which can be rather amusing at times.
First, here are the big picture economic assessments of the Nov. 29 Beige Book, which was prepared by the St. Louis Fed based on information collected on or before Nov. 17, 2017. First, on overall economic activity, courtesy of Bloomberg:
Retail spending largely flat; outlook for holiday sales generally optimistic Residential real estate activity remained constrained, with most districts reporting little growth in sales or construction All districts reported that manufacturing activity expanded, with most describing growth as moderate Some respondents concerned or uncertain about impact of potential changes to taxes and other policies Employment and Wages:
Reports of tightness in the labor market widespread Wage growth modest or moderate in most districts; increases most notable for professional, technical, and production positions that remain difficult to fill Many districts reported that employers were raising wages and increasing their use of signing bonuses and other nonwage benefits to retain or attract employees

This post was published at Zero Hedge on Nov 29, 2017.