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Overall Economic Activity - June 2
The national economy expanded at a moderate pace from early April to late May, a somewhat faster rate than the prior reporting period. Several Districts cited the positive effects on the economy of increased vaccination rates and relaxed social distancing measures, while they also noted the adverse impacts of supply chain disruptions. The effects of expanded vaccination rates were perhaps most notable in consumer spending in which increases in leisure travel and restaurant spending augmented ongoing strength in other spending categories. Light vehicle sales remained solid but were often constrained by tight inventories. Factory output increased further even as significant supply chain challenges continued to disrupt production. Manufacturers reported that widespread shortages of materials and labor along with delivery delays made it difficult to get products to customers. Similar challenges persisted in construction. Homebuilders often noted that strong demand, buoyed by low mortgage interest rates, outpaced their capacity to build, leading some to limit sales. Nonresidential construction increased at a moderate pace, on balance, even as contacts in several Districts said that supply chain disruptions pushed costs higher and, in some cases, delayed projects. Demand for professional and business services increased moderately, while demand for transportation services (including at ports) was exceptionally strong. Lending volumes increased modestly, with gains in both household and business loans. Overall, expectations changed little, with contacts optimistic that economic growth will remain solid.
Construction Update - May, 2021
Both FMVs and FLVs for construction equipment were down in April 2021 compared to the previous month and the previous two years. Average FMVs were down 3.0% monthover-month, 2.7% year-over-year, and 12.7% compared to April 2019. Average FLVs were down 6.9% month-over-month, 4.3% year-over-year, and 23.3% compared to April 2019. Activity on the resale channel was relatively flat month-over-month (down just 0.3%) but down by 34.2% compared to April of last year. Similarly, activity on the auction channel was down 27.3% year-over-year. Average age on the resale channel was up 7.2% year-over-year and average utilization increased by 1.9%. On the auction channel average utilization was flat (up 0.1%) year-over-year while average age was up 15.7%.