Federal Reserve finds moderate growth in district
The economy in the Federal Reserve district that includes Pittsburgh continued to grow at a moderate pace from late May through early July, as manufacturing and commercial construction improved.
“What's going on here is what we are seeing nationally, but a little slower,” said Gus Faucher, senior economist at PNC Financial Services Group in Pittsburgh. “Retail sales are soft, but that's what we're seeing nationally, as tax increases and government layoffs have an impact.”
Western Pennsylvania is part of the Fed's Fourth District, which includes West Virginia's northern panhandle, Ohio and eastern Kentucky. Pittsburgh is the largest metropolitan area in the district, while eight of the 10 largest are in Ohio.
The broader Fed survey issued on Wednesday showed that 11 Fed banking districts reported “modest to moderate” growth, while Dallas reported “strong” growth for the second straight survey.
The Fed's Beige Book survey is based on anecdotal reports from businesses. The report said hiring held steady or increased in most districts. But employers in some districts were reluctant to hire permanent or full-time workers.
The survey hinted that some business sectors are contributing to slower job growth in the Pittsburgh region. Residential construction has slowed since the beginning of the year but remains above year-ago levels. Natural gas and oil production is stable, but drilling has declined since the start of the year. Output at coal mines trended lower, the survey said of the district.
“In the district, we're seeing below-average job growth,” said Faucher. “I do see a strong pickup later in the year” as the impact of the tax increase and government spending cuts fade, he said.
Europe's economy will pick up during the second half, which will result in a pickup in the Fourth District as well.
A positive is a moderate increase in new motor vehicle sales, and “purchases of large pickup trucks trended higher, especially in the eastern half of the district,” the survey said.
Five districts reported strong auto sales, up from just three in the previous report. Auto production is strong in Ohio but relatively weak in the Pittsburgh region.
Overall, the Beige Book survey report painted an optimistic picture of an national economy growing at a steady pace. Job gains have picked up this year, bolstering incomes and enabling consumers to spend more.
Employers have added an average of 202,000 jobs a month this year, up from about 180,000 a month in the previous six months.
Still, growth has been weak. Most economists expect growth slowed in the April-June quarter to an annual rate of 1 percent or less, down from a tepid 1.8 percent rate at the start of the year. That would mark the third straight quarter of growth below 2 percent.
Many economists are hopeful that growth will rebound in the second half of the year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. John D. Oravecz is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7882 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Cleveland district, including Pittsburgh, shows moderate economic growth in latest Beige Book report from Fed
- Easier home loan rules worry some
- Esmark sues Slovakian businessman for $100M, alleges sabotaged deal
- Sales, profit rebound as American Eagle Outfitters returns to roots
- McDonald’s to ban chicken suppliers from antibiotics used in human medicine
- Concurrent Technologies focuses on developing batteries for renewable energy, electric cars
- Stocks fall further from record highs
- Exxon CEO: Low oil prices here to stay
- Transcripts show Fed’s fear of big bank aid
- Labor Department, nonprofit studies urge workplace injury system reform
- Profit increases 12% at Dick’s Sporting Goods