As reported in the Fourth District Beige Book published by the Federal Reserve, the economy continued to expand at a moderate pace during the quarter. Most contacts have a positive outlook for 2014, and they expect demand for their products and services to remain at current levels or rise. On balance, demand for manufactured products stayed at a higher level relative to a year ago. The housing market was strong, while nonresidential builders saw an overall pick-up in business.
Retail purchases during the holiday shopping season were above year-ago levels. New motor vehicle sales posted moderate gains on a year-over-year basis. The number of drilling rigs rose across the District, while natural gas output was stable. The rate of decline in coal production was slowing. Freight volume was in line with or exceeded expectations. Demand for business and consumer credit weakened slightly. Hiring was sluggish across most industry sectors, though the pickup in construction job openings and placements rose slightly, with vacancies primarily in healthcare, information technology, and oil and gas. Wage pressures were contained. Input and finished goods prices saw little change, apart from some increases in metals and residential construction materials
Source : Cushman & Wakefield