Fed’s Beige Book says economy is improving at moderate pace

City A.M. Reporter
ECONOMIC activity across the US expanded at either a moderate or modest pace in recent weeks with consumer spending picking up, the Federal Reserve said last night, suggesting little change in terms of the recovery’s strength.

The US central bank painted a cautiously positive picture of an economy gathering steam across its 12 districts, although businesses and consumers were wary due to uncertainty over fiscal policy and conditions on the other side of the Atlantic. “Hiring plans were more cautious for firms doing business in Europe or in the defense sector,” the Fed noted in its Beige Book report. It was compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia based on data collected before 4 January 2012.

“Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that economic activity has expanded since the previous Beige Book report, with all twelve Districts characterising the pace of growth as either modest or moderate,” the Fed said.