‘Overall labor market conditions remained tight…’

Report: Federal Reserve Beige Book shows hiring rose at a modest to moderate pace over the last six weeks

I like to read the Fed’s Beige Book. It’s a real-time look at current economic conditions around the country. It’s not data-based like a lot of other measures of the economy – it is based on first-hand conversations with the local community leaders in each of the Fed’s 12 districts.

It’s out eight times a year – roughly every six weeks – and it paints a more conversational picture of what is going on around the country when it comes to jobs and wages.

Here’s the big picture, according to today’s report.

“Employment rose at a modest to moderate pace in most Districts. Overall labor market conditions remained tight, although nearly all Districts highlighted some improvement in labor availability, particularly among manufacturing, construction, and financial services contacts. Moreover, employers noted improved worker retention, on balance.

“Wages grew across all Districts, although reports of a slower pace of increase and moderating salary expectations were widespread. Employers in several Districts reported giving midyear and off-cycle raises to offset higher living costs, and many noted that offering bonuses, flexible work arrangements, and comprehensive benefits were deemed necessary to attract and retain workers.

“Looking ahead, employers planned to provide end-of-year pay raises to their workers, but expectations for the pace of wage growth varied across industries and Districts.”

The Beige Book breaks down the jobs and wage activity by regions as well. You can read the full report here.