U.S. steel prices have risen sharply since President Donald Trump’s decision to impose tariffs on the metal, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its survey of regional economic conditions.
The central bank’s Beige Book, a collection of anecdotal reports from businesses, said there were “widespread reports” in March and early April “that steel prices rose, sometimes dramatically, due to the new tariff.” Prices for building materials such as lumber, drywall and concrete also climbed during the period.
Trump approved a 25% tariff on imported steel, as well as a 10% tariff on aluminum, in March, arguing that levies are necessary to protect U.S. producers of the two metals. The move was seen as a salvo against China, which Trump has criticized for dumping steel in the U.S. to force prices lower. Canada and Mexico were excluded from the tariffs.
Businesses generally expect more price increases in the months ahead, the Fed noted. There were “scattered reports” of some companies that were able to pass price increases to customers in manufacturing, information technology, transportation and construction.
The Beige Book also showed that the Fed’s 12 districts saw widespread employment growth. Companies continued to report a struggle in finding qualified candidates to fill open job positions. Labor shortages were common in high-skill positions, including engineering and health care.
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The Fed said there was upward wage pressure, but generally it didn’t escalate. Most districts labeled wage growth as modest.