Economic activity in the U.S. accelerated to a moderate pace from late February to early April, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book.
The Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in each of the twelve Fed districts, highlighted improvement in a variety of areas, including consumer spending, auto sales and manufacturing activity.
The Fed also noted reports on tourism were more upbeat, bolstered by a pickup in demand for leisure activities and travel.
Contacts attributed the increase in demand to spring break, an easing of pandemic-related restrictions, increased vaccinations, and recent stimulus payments, among other factors.
The report also said job growth picked up over the reporting period, with most districts noting modest to moderate increases in employment.
The Fed said job growth was generally strongest in manufacturing, construction, and leisure and hospitality, although hiring remained a widespread challenge.
“Wage growth accelerated slightly overall, with more significant wage pressures in industries like manufacturing and construction where finding and retaining workers was particularly difficult,” the Fed added.
The Beige Book said overall prices also accelerated slightly since the last report, with many districts reporting moderate price increases and some saying prices rose more robustly.
Looking ahead, the Fed said outlooks were more optimistic than in the previous report, boosted in part by an acceleration in COVID-19 vaccinations.
The release of the Beige Book comes two weeks ahead of the Federal Reserve’s next monetary policy meeting, which is scheduled for April 27-28.