For the most part, the economy continues to enjoy the moderate or modest expansion, but two issues are causes for concern. More businesses are complaining about labor shortage or labor skills gap and worries over a trade battle are mounting as well.
Highlights of Highlights by Federal Reserve District Boston
Firms reported the continued expansion of business activity. Retailers, manufacturers, and staffing firms cited year-over-year increases in revenues and sales. Labor markets remained tight amid little net hiring. Outlooks continued to be positive.
Labor markets remained tight, and wage pressures increased for some firms. Retail sales improved further. Manufacturing activity continued to grow.
Employment grew strongly, despite continued labor constraints. Hiring demand was robust, and wage growth was moderate to strong. Manufacturing activity increased, but contacts in manufacturing and agriculture remained concerned about the negative impacts from trade restrictions.
Manufacturing contacts noted that recent trade developments had led to higher input prices and lower capital spending plans for some firms. Prolonged weaknesses in the agricultural sector increasingly impacted farm borrower finances.
Conditions in the labor market tightened further, and price inflation increased moderately. Sales of retail goods picked up moderately, and activity in the consumer and business services sectors edged down slightly.
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