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Beige Seems About Right

One of the neat things about the Federal Reserve is the vast amount of economic and stock market research it produces and makes available to the public. It seems our central bank is keeping busy the more than 400 Ph.D. economists it employs! If you haven’t had the opportunity, we highly recommend you take some time to explore The Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Federal Reserve Economic Data website, better known as FRED. It is an easy-to-navigate portal where you can take a deeper dive into everything from the yield curve to the labor force participation rate. You can find the website at FRED.stlouisfed.org.

It is one of the better-known Federal Reserve research pieces that is the subject of this week’s weekly wire, and that is The Beige Book. Begun in 1970 under Fed Chairman Arthur Burns and first made public in 1983 under Fed Chairman Paul Volcker, The Beige Book is published eight times a year (in advance of meetings of The Federal Open Market Committee) and is a report of anecdotal information on current economic conditions by each of the twelve districts that make up the Federal Reserve System (see map). The book is called The Beige Book – not surprisingly – as its cover is colored beige. At the risk of going off on a tangent or offending those among us who really like the color beige, that has always bothered me a
bit. I mean, we are the largest and most powerful economy in the world—can’t we come up with something punchier than beige?

That said, one could come up with worse colors to describe the just-released August Beige Book which showed that five Fed Districts reported slight to modest growth in activity, five others reported slight to modest softening and two reported conditions held steady. Looking across the country, on the positive side of the ledger, consumer spending was solid and energy prices came in; on the negative side of the ledger, home sales fell in all 12 districts and workers remain hard to find. At a high level, the outlook for
economic growth remained generally weak and nine districts reported that pricing levels were moderating. If the Fed is looking for evidence of slowing economic growth and waning inflation, it seems the August Beige Book could be a good place to start.

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The views expressed are those of Brinker Capital and are not intended as investment advice or recommendation. For informational purposes only. Brinker Capital Investments, LLC, a registered investment advisor. 1650-BCI-9/12/2022

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