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Financial News: Most Fed Districts Characterize U.S. Economic Growth As

Most Fed Districts Characterize U.S. Economic Growth As Modest Or Moderate

12/02/2020 - 14:20:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Economic growth in the U.S. has been characterized as modest or moderate by most Federal Reserve districts, according to the Fed's Beige Book released on Wednesday.

However, the Fed said four of the twelve districts described little or no growth, and five narratives noted that activity remained below pre-pandemic levels for at least some sectors.

The central bank also cautioned that Philadelphia and three of the four Midwestern Districts observed that activity began to slow in early November as new coronavirus cases surged.

A compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in the twelve Fed districts, the Beige Book is typically released about two weeks before the next monetary policy meeting.

The Fed said reports from the districts tended to indicate higher-than-average growth of manufacturing, distribution and logistics, homebuilding, and existing home sales, although not without disruptions.

Banking contacts in numerous districts also reported some deterioration of loan portfolios, particularly for commercial lending into the retail and leisure and hospitality sectors, the Fed said.

The Beige Book said nearly all Fed districts reported job growth, but for most, the pace was slow, at best, and the recovery remained incomplete.

Looking ahead, the central bank said that most districts reported that firms' outlook for the economy remained positive.

Optimism has waned, however, with many contacts citing concerns over the recent pandemic wave, mandated restrictions and the looming expiration dates for unemployment benefits and for moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.

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