Federal Reserve sees more signs activity slowing as optimism wanes

04 Décembre, 2020, 08:10 | Auteur: Auguste Feret
  • A pedestrian walks by the holiday windows at Saks Fifth Avenue department store in New York Dec. 1 2020

The U.S. economy's recovery picked up to a "modest or moderate" pace this fall, while growth began to slow in November in parts of the Midwest and Northeast as coronavirus cases proliferated, a Federal Reserve report said Wednesday.

On employment, almost all districts reported that employment rose, but for most, the pace was slow, at best, and the recovery remained "incomplete", the Fed said, adding that firms that were hiring continued to report difficulties in attracting and retaining workers.

"Four districts said there was little or no growth, five noted activity remained below pre-crisis levels at least for some sectors".

While firms in most districts still have positive outlooks, "optimism has waned" amid "concerns over the recent pandemic wave, mandated restrictions (recent and prospective), and the looming expiration dates for unemployment benefits and for moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures", the report said.

"Providing for childcare and virtual schooling needs was widely cited as a significant issue for the workforce".

Banks reported deterioration in loan portfolios - particularly commercial lending to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses - and expectations of an uptick in delinquencies became more widespread, the Beige Book added.

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"We're trying to get as much of the economy and as numerous workers across that bridge to the post-pandemic economy".

"Firms that were hiring continued to report difficulties in attracting and retaining workers".

Philadelphia and three of the four Midwestern districts observed that activity began to slow in early November as COVID-19 cases surged, according to the Beige Book.

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Wednesday threw her support behind a US$908 billion compromise relief package proposed by a bipartisan group of lawmakers on Tuesday.

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin also said he favors a more limited bill though he has not ruled out supporting the latest proposal.

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