Job market and wage growth strengthening: Fed’s Beige Book

Wage growth picked up across America and the job market continued to strengthen, despite hiring constraints as employers struggle to find qualified workers, according to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book.

The data also showed the U.S. economy grew at a modest to moderate pace across the twelve Federal Reserve Districts in mid-October through late November.

The employment optimism may be a positive pre-cursor ahead of the November jobs data due Friday which is expected to show employers created 200,000 jobs, with the unemployment rate holding steady at 3.7 percent, the lowest since 1969, according to Refinitiv. The ADP Jobs report, due on Thursday, will provide an early snapshot ahead of Friday’s report.

As for inflation, it is starting to perk up per the data, which stated that costs for materials are rising. Tariff-induced cost increases are also spreading more broadly from manufacturers and contractors, to retailers and restaurants.

Manufacturers and businesses remain fairly optimistic, although the uncertainty over tariffs is weighing down on that optimism. However, the survey was conducted before the US-China agreed to a trade truce at the G20 meeting last weekend.

The Fed, which has raised interest rates three times this year, is widely expected to hike a fourth and final time on December 19, at the conclusion of its two day policy meeting.