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Having announced its new long-run policy goals, it has been a quiet couple of weeks for the Fed. Last week, the Labor Department reported that the unemployment rate fell to 8.4% which officially puts it below the 2008-2009 financial crisis highs around 10% and well below its COVID-19 highs around 15%. And as we move into the Fall, the outlook has shifted into what the “new normal” will be.

For Fed watchers looking to see how the Summer wrapped up, the Fed’s Beige Book is worth a quick read. This monthly publication gives a glimpse into the current economic conditions across 12 Federal Reserve Districts and although qualitative in nature, it can provide some useful information.

If there are two takeaways from the August iteration, it is that economic activity rebounds in August were generally slower than they’ve been in previous months and the outlook for most regions was modestly optimistic. Not the biggest surprise.

If I had to guess, the two most repeated words in this edition were “modest” and “mixed”. Bright spots such as residential construction, manufacturing continued to show strong recoveries in August while hard hit areas such as commercial construction/real estate, agriculture, and energy continued to struggle. I’d expect a similar mixed dyna...

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