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Dallas Fed reports some companies have boosted starting pay but still can't attract applicants

The Dallas Fed gives its latest take on the regional economy.

DALLAS — The Dallas Federal Reserve Bank just gave its contributions to the once-every-six-weeks-or-so Beige Book

Here are some of the takeaways from their view of the regional economy:

Demand is crazy for durable goods (things that last a long time like refrigerators, computers, and cars). Consumers are buying, and some manufacturers say they can’t keep up. 

Even crazier: Supply of labor and materials. The report says companies have a lack of applicants. Many of them blame more generous unemployment benefits. But in the tight labor market, rising pay rates are also creating stiff competition. The report cites one company with a $14 starting wage that still can’t fill more than 20 openings. 

Supply disruptions still plague raw materials like lumber and wiring, causing higher production costs. Many companies expect to pass those increases to consumers. Some homebuilders are waiting until they frame or drywall houses (and have a better idea of their costs) before selling. 

Also, new apartments are going up again after a COVID construction lull, but rents are going up, too. And working from home - or apartment - is still happening, meaning demand for office space remains weak.