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Fed's Beige Book shows steady expansion, tightening labor market

Most of the Federal Reserve's district banks reported that their economies continued to expand at a "modest or moderate" pace between early April and late May, according to the central bank's May 31 Beige Book release.

The districts reported that U.S. labor markets continued to tighten, with many recording shortages across occupations. Even so, most districts reported that employment continued to grow at a "modest to moderate" pace.

On the inflation front, the Fed districts reported that pricing pressures were "little changed" from the last Beige Book report. Rising costs for some commodities, like lumber or steel, caused input prices to rise for some manufacturers. Some districts, however, reported lower prices for final goods, like apparel, autos and groceries. Home prices rose in many markets from low inventories.

The Fed noted that consumer spending "softened" in many districts, with slight or no changes in nonauto retail sales. The majority of districts also reported steady growth in manufacturing activity.