The Beige Book: The Fed's Window on the National Economy
About two weeks before each of the Federal Reserve's Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings, news media eagerly await the central bank's Summary of Commentary of Current Economic Conditions. Once the report is released, news outlets carry thousands of articles about economic conditions throughout the nation.
If the public is not familiar with the Summary of Commentary of Current Economic Conditions, it is familiar with the more common name for the report: the Beige Book. The name refers to the color of the cover of the report.
What's in the Beige Book?
The section devoted to the Sixth Federal Reserve District—the Atlanta Fed's region—examines consumer spending, tourism and business travel, real estate, manufacturing and transportation, banking and finance, employment and prices, agriculture and natural resources, labor markets, wages, and prices throughout the Southeast.
Gathering the comments
When compiled, the comments are presented anonymously so that none of the businesses can be identified. Making comments in the report anonymous ensures that business representatives and other participants are comfortable providing candid insight into their industry without concern about competitors acquiring proprietary information.
The national overview summarizes the 12 district reports. The task of compiling this overview rotates between Reserve Banks.
Who uses the Beige Book and how?
June 6, 2007