On balance, economic activity slowed since the previous report, with four Districts reporting modest growth, two indicating conditions were flat to slightly down, and six noting slight declines in activity. Retail sales, including autos, remained mixed; sales of discretionary items and durable goods, like furniture and appliances, declined, on average, as consumers showed more price sensitivity. Travel and tourism activity was generally healthy. Demand for transportation services was sluggish. Manufacturing activity was mixed, and manufacturers’ outlooks weakened. Demand for business loans decreased slightly, particularly real estate loans. Consumer credit remained fairly healthy, but some banks noted a slight uptick in consumer delinquencies. Agriculture conditions were steady to slightly up as farmers reported higher selling prices; yields were mixed. Commercial real estate activity continued to slow; the office segment remained weak and multifamily activity softened. Several Districts noted a slight decrease in residential sales and higher inventories of available homes. The economic outlook for the next six to twelve months diminished over the reporting period.
Demand for labor continued to ease, as most Districts reported flat to modest increases in overall employment. The majority of Districts reported that more applicants were available, and several noted that retention improved as well.
Fed’s Beige Book “This report was prepared at the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta based on information collected on or before November 17, 2023.”