Labor markets tight, but some reports surface of weaker demand for workers


Labor markets remain tight, and many parts of the US continue to experience wage growth, according to the Beige Book report released Wednesday by the US Federal Reserve. On the other hand, several parts of the US noted modest improvement in labor availability amid weaker demand for workers.

Overall, economic activity in the US expanded at a modest pace since mid-May, though recession concerns increased and several Federal Reserve districts cited a slowdown in demand.

The report provides a look at the US economy through the 12 Federal Reserve districts.

Other findings in the report included:

  • One staffing firm in the New York district noted employees at firms in the district have become more reluctant to change jobs. However, a sizeable proportion of companies continued to add staff. Widespread wage increases also continued, with one staffing firm noting employees are using counteroffers to raise their salaries.
  • Employment rose modestly in the Philadelphia district, but there were scattered reports of layoffs, attrition or hiring freezes as chatter about a possible recession increased. Still, the share of firms reporting employment increases rose. In addition, staffing firms in the Philadelphia district reported no signs that job orders had slowed. Most companies, including staffing firms, continued to note wage growth is slowly subsiding.
  • Firms in the Richmond, Virginia, district, broadly speaking, expected employment to increase in the next six months.
  • Contacts across the St. Louis district reported workers remained scarce. One staffing firm, which typically filled 30 or more jobs per day pre-pandemic, reported it now struggles to to fill two to three per day.
  • Overall, firms in the Minneapolis district added more workers, but some signs of weakness appeared. Job postings flattened or fell across district states in recent weeks, though they remained at high levels.
  • Firms in the Dallas district continued having difficulty finding workers. Shortages were most acute for truck drivers, pilots, healthcare staff and oil field workers. Filling lower-skilled positions was tougher than higher-skilled jobs, according to staffing firms in the district.
  • Recent hiring freezes at large tech firms in the San Francisco district could make it easier for other businesses to attract experienced professionals, the district reported.