The U.S. economy continued to grow in the past several weeks, the Federal Reserve said in its latest Beige Book economic report – but the pace of expansion was modest.
And the picture the Fed painted was one of widespread restraint. Consumer spending, the 12 Fed districts reported, was flat to somewhat positive – but retailers noted that consumers "remain price-conscious and were largely limiting purchases to necessities and nondiscretionary items."
Used vehicle sales were strong, too – a sign that people are buying used rather than new to meet their vehicular transportation needs.
Because of the generally sluggish growth observed across the country, wage increases were largely flat. "Most district reports found little evidence of wage increases in general," the Fed said.
In addition, hiring continues to be torpid – bad news for young people hoping the economy is going to pick up and drive job creation. "Many firms [are] reluctant to add to permanent payrolls given economic softness," the economic report read.
Slack in the economy is the new normal, it appears. Young people may have little choice but to get used to slow growth.