Current State of the American Economy
Evidence suggests that the productive capacity of the economy is still not being fully used (Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System, 2004, p. 2)

Persistent weakness continues to characterize the labor market (Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System, 2004, p. 2)

Household debt rose at an annual rate of 10.75 percent in the first quarter of 2004 (Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System, 2004, p. 5)

Inventory investment generally remained subdued even as final sales strengthened (Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System, 2004, p. 7)

Net equity issuance remained negative (Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System, 2004, p. 7)

The deficit in the federal unified budget continued to widen (Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System, 2004, p. 9)

The United States trade deficit in goods and services registered $548 billion at an annual rate in the first quarter; $46 billion larger than in the fourth quarter of 2003 (Board of Governors, Federal Reserve System, 2004, p. 12)

The Beige Book issued by the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve (2004a) in late-July reported that economic growth was moderating in half of the Federal Reserve districts. The Beige Book (2004) reported further that: "Retail sales were widely cited as having slowed; in particular, most districts reported that auto s

 
 
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