US economy sees moderate growth - Fed's Beige Book

Thursday 05 June 2014 07.39
Federal Reserve published its latest "Beige Book" report last night
Federal Reserve published its latest "Beige Book" report last night

The US economy has turned to growth across the country, recovering at a "moderate" to "modest" pace after brutal winter weather, the Federal Reserve's "Beige Book" report said last night.

"All twelve Federal Reserve Districts report that economic activity expanded, " the report said. Growth was described as "moderate" in seven Fed districts and "modest" in five. 

That marked an improvement from the previous Beige Book, released on April 16, when two districts reported declining activity as the economy was emerging from a first-quarter slump.

The May report covers a survey period from April to May 23 and will be used in the next monetary policy meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee on June 17-18.

Consumer spending, the engine of two-thirds of US economic activity, grew across almost all districts, the report said.

There was "brisk growth" in sales of new vehicles, while non-car retailers reported mixed results.

Respondents generally said there were improving labour market conditions in the US, with hiring activity "steady to stronger across most of the country."

Wage pressures remained "subdued" in most of the country, the report said, amid still-elevated unemployment, with the jobless rate at 6.3% in April. 

On the inflation front, price pressures were "contained," with most districts reporting that both input and finished goods prices were little changed or up only slightly since the previous report.