Fed sees modest to moderate growth

March 6, 2013 at 6:31 PM

WASHINGTON, March 6 (UPI) -- The U.S. economy has experienced modest to moderate growth since mid-January, the Federal Reserve Bank said Wednesday.

The Beige Book report, released eight times a year and named for the color of its cover, said five of the Fed's 12 districts reported moderate economic growth and five reported growth was modest. The Fed districts of Boston and Chicago reported growth was slow, the Beige Book said.

Consumer spending rose in most districts, although retail slowed in some. The Fed described automobile sales as "strong or sold" and tourism growing "in a number of Districts."

"Manufacturing modestly improved in most regions," the report said.

The Beige Book, as a numbers-free description of the economy across the country, generally holds few surprises, but it tends to set the tone for market activity.

In most cases it validates the stock market's position. The Dow Jones industrial average closing at all-time highs Tuesday and Wednesday.

Noting that some agricultural areas are suffering from persistent drought, the Fed said heavy snows this week in the Central Plains have muted, but not erased, concerns.

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