A suit store in Portland, ME. Photo: Ben McCanna/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images.

The Fed's latest beige book released Wednesday showed U.S. business owners remain largely bullish on the economy but are losing faith in the longer-term outlook.

What's happening: Business activity varied across the country, with the West and South more upbeat than the Midwest and Great Plains, which are U.S. manufacturing hubs.

  • A number of districts also reported that manufacturers have "reduced headcount because orders were soft," while others are cutting hours rather than laying off workers.
  • Employers continued to note the tight labor market and said finding quality workers was still a top problem. However, that has been a plus for workers as large companies are said to be offering larger pay packages and small companies are using benefits and bonuses to compete.

Go deeper: A crisis for retail jobs

Go deeper

Betting on inflation is paying off big for investors

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

The specter of rising inflation is helping power assets like gold, silver and Treasury Inflation-Protected Securities (TIPS) to strong returns with record demand this year.

The big picture: Investors continue to pack in even as inflation metrics like the consumer price index (CPI) and personal consumption expenditure (PCE) index have remained anchored.

Scoop: Top CEOs urge Congress to help small businesses

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

With a new coronavirus relief measure stalled in Congress, CEOs of some of the world's biggest companies have banded together to send a message to Washington: Get money to small businesses now!

Why it matters: "By Labor Day, we foresee a wave of permanent closures if the right steps are not taken soon," warns the letter, organized by Howard Schultz and signed by more than 100 CEOs.

2 hours ago - Technology

What a President Biden would mean for tech

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

A Biden presidency would put the tech industry on stabler ground than it's had with President Trump. Although Biden is unlikely to rein in those Democrats who are itching to regulate the big platforms, he'll almost certainly have other, bigger priorities.

The big picture: Liberal Silicon Valley remains one of Democrats' most reliable sources for big-money donations. But a Biden win offers no guarantee that tech will be able to renew the cozy relationship it had with the Obama White House.