The Beige Book offers a broad but anecdotal survey of the economy, in this case the 7-week period ending January 9. And though the verdict is unchanged, that is moderate to modest economic growth, the outlook is suddenly upbeat. The report says firms across the nation are optimistic about 2017 and cites expectations for increasing tightness in the labor market and increasing wage pressure to go with it.
Yet a rising outlook alone may not be enough to persuade policy makers to raise rates at the coming FOMC meeting. Both housing and capital investment plans are described as mixed and holiday sales as disappointing for some. And inflation won't be a factor for higher rates either, as price pressures are described as only slight to modest. Today's Beige Book was prepared for the January 31 & February 1 meeting.