The Federal Reserve today said that the U.S. economy continued to grow from mid-July to August, but that it had also shown “a widespread signs of a deceleration compared with preceding periods.” That’s hardly a sign that we’re out of the woods. No wonder economists are tempering their optimism.
The Fed’s Beige Book — a slightly less-boring-than-it-sounds compilation of anecdotal evidence used to gauge the health of the economy (okay, maybe it’s as boring as it sounds) — showed that five Fed regions showed “growth at a modest pace,” two regions surveyed showed “positive developments or net improvements,” while the remaining five displayed “mixed conditions or deceleration.”
“Upward price pressures,” also known as inflation, or signs of economic activity, are “quite limited,” the Fed said. And as for U.S. employees getting raises? “Wage pressures were also limited.”
Some of the key areas of the economic crisis showed signs of continued stagnation. Manufacturing growth slowed from earlier in the year; real estate and construction declined; lending was “stable to slightly down on net.”
Meanwhile, President Obama is reiterating his refusal to extend Bush-era tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans after House Majority Leader John Boehner pushed the idea. Following Obama’s remarks, a compromise of sorts floated by former White House Budget Director Peter Orszag seems to have been tabled. The administration is mooting $180 billion in stimulus and tax cuts focused on the nation’s transportation infrastructure and business equipment. The plan is garnering a mixed reception at best.
Looks like it’ll be a while before Americans taste the heady wine of an unbridled economic rebound.