An in-depth look at regional and national economic trends that matter to the Fifth District. Updates will be published several times a month.
Eight times a year, the Board of Governors releases the Beige Book, which is a summary and compilation of individual reports on current economic conditions submitted by all 12 Federal Reserve Banks. To write their reports, Reserve Banks collect anecdotal information from a variety of contacts throughout their Districts. In this sense, the Beige Book offers an opportunity to describe changing economic conditions in a way that extends beyond the view of economic data alone.
In contribution to the overall Beige Book report, the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond’s regional research unit gathers information from business contacts throughout the District, as well as the Bank’s Board of Directors (including the Baltimore and Charlotte branch offices).
Our engagement with business leaders takes several formats. First, leading up to the Beige Book report deadline, members of the regional research department reach out to contacts through emails and phone calls. Additionally, comments from our regularly administered surveys are used to complement the information we receive directly. Lastly, the regional group holds regular meetings throughout the District where local industry leaders come together and share their perspectives with us and with each other. Currently, these industry roundtables are held in Baltimore, Md., Richmond, Va., Charleston, W.Va., Charlotte, N.C., Asheville, N.C., Charleston, S.C., and Spartanburg, S.C.
On Jan. 18, the Board of Governors released the most recent installment of the Beige Book report. With this report comes a new design. What changes can you expect, and why now? To answer these questions, the frequently asked questions page of the Board of Governor’s website explains:
Since its inception in 1983, the look and broad content of the Beige Book have been largely unchanged. However, the national summary has lengthened over time, and the specifics of industry and sector coverage in the District reports and the national summary have evolved to reflect changes in the structure of the U.S. economy. In addition, the Districts have periodically updated their approach to information collection and processing.
The changes starting in 2017 to the content and structure of the Beige Book are intended to convey its main messages more effectively. The redesign also provides a degree of standardization of the content in the reports from each Federal Reserve District, while preserving the ability of each District to highlight their regional economy's unique features.
While the purpose of the Beige Book remains unchanged, the new design provides a more concise and more consistent format among the individual Bank reports.
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Views expressed are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect those of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond or the Federal Reserve System.