January 13, 2021 | 14:31
The Ups and Downs of the Beige Book
So tell me how you really feel.......
The Federal Reserve's latest Beige Book unearthed some not-terribly-surprising but some interesting stories by its business contacts. The report was prepped by the San Francisco Fed, using intel collected on or before January 4, 2021. Of course, the unwavering focus remains squarely on the coronavirus and its impact on their livelihoods. This shows the number of times the following word appeared in the report .... COVID (58); pandemic (50); vaccine (10); and virus (5). There was no mention of elections or Senate races. In fact, the word "political" only showed up once, under the construction and real estate paragraph. "Outlooks were favorable, with continued concern about political uncertainty and a weak labor market negatively impacting future sales."
The opening line, describing economic activity, wasn't terribly different between this Beige Book and the prior one in early December. Back then, the expansion was described as "modest or moderate"; more recently, activity "increased modestly", though there was a mix beneath the surface (some little changed, some down).
The anecdotes were again, not shocking but interesting.