The Federal Reserve Bank’s latest Beige Book economic summary, released Wednesday, indicates continued improving economic conditions in Arkansas and the Eighth District.
Amid overall moderate improvement, labor and materials shortages continue to restrain ability to meet customer demand, the report said. Consumer spending continues to be strong, despite inventory shortages restraining auto sales. The real estate market in the district remains strong despite higher prices and low inventories.
The Eighth District, based in St. Louis, includes Arkansas, most of Missouri, roughly the northern half of Mississippi, east Tennessee, most of Kentucky and southern parts of Indiana and Illinois.
District banks reported slight improvements in loan demand and stable credit quality, and agriculture conditions declined modestly but remained favorable compared to recent years, the report found.
Nationally, the U.S. economy strengthened from late May to early July with robust growth in the transportation, travel/tourism, manufacturing and non-financial sectors. The energy market saw moderate growth while agriculture saw mixed results.
Supply-side disruptions became more widespread including shortages of materials and labor, delivery delays and low inventories of many consumer goods, the report said. Despite steady demand, car sales fell off due to strained inventories. Home sales rose slightly despite limited supply and non-auto retail sales grew at a moderate pace. Tourism was buoyed by the further abatement of pandemic-related concerns.
The Beige Book is published eight times a year. To see more of the July report, click here.