The Federal Reserve just released the latest Beige Book, its survey of economic conditions across the country. The good news is that the downturn seems to be moderating in five of the 12 districts. The bad news is the job market, almost the whole thing:
Labor market conditions continued to be weak across the country, with wages generally remaining flat or falling. Two Districts also mentioned employers' plans to scale back employee benefit programs. The Atlanta, Chicago, and St. Louis Districts reported that some state and local governments faced hiring freezes or outright job cuts. While manufacturing employment levels remained low, some Districts saw signs that job losses may be moderating.
The folks worrying about inflation because of all the federal borrowing may have to wait a minute. The Fed says prices are flat or heading downward at every stage of production.