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Labor market conditions changed little in September, with limited or “selective” demand for new workers, according to the new Federal Reserve Beige Book report released Wednesday.
Staffing firms in some sectors such as manufacturing, transportation and energy were hiring more broadly in the Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago and Kansas City Federal Reserve districts. Firms also noted that they were experiencing difficulties in finding appropriately skilled or qualified labor.
Elevated uncertainty or lower expectations for companies’ future growth have restrained hiring in the Boston, Richmond, Atlanta and Chicago districts. New York reported that deteriorating business conditions in the finance industry had led to a pull back in hiring, with some layoffs anticipated in the months ahead.
Richmond and Chicago also reported reduced seasonal hiring in retail trade given apprehension about the strength of holiday sales; however, firms in the New York district indicated that seasonal hiring was likely to increase.
Aside from specialized skills or areas with skills shortages, wage pressures remained subdued in most districts. Atlanta and San Francisco cited wage gains for workers with specialized skills, such as in information technology, Minneapolis reported wage increases in the energy industry, and Cleveland noted higher wages for truck drivers.
Minneapolis and Cleveland noted increases in non-wage costs such as healthcare.