The first Beige Book report of 2023 from the Federal Reserve dropped on January 18. I always like taking a look at it because it paints a picture of both national and regional economic conditions based on what the Fed is hearing in its 12 districts.
The big takeaways nationally are that in most areas, hiring continues despite concerns we might be heading into a recession and job seekers and workers still have leverage.
“Employment continued to grow at a modest to moderate pace for most Districts. Only one District reported a slight decline in employment, and one other reported no change in employment levels. While some Districts noted that labor availability had increased, firms continued to report difficulty in filling open positions.
“Many firms hesitated to lay off employees even as demand for their goods and services slowed and planned to reduce headcount through attrition if needed. With persistently tight labor markets, wage pressures remained elevated across Districts, though five Reserve Banks reported that these pressures had eased somewhat.
“Some employers noted they have continued to offer bonuses and enhanced benefits to attract and retain workers.”