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Financial News: U.S. Economic Activity Has Increased Slightly, Says Fed's

U.S. Economic Activity Has Increased Slightly, Says Fed's Beige Book

03/06/2024 - 14:23:00 (RTTNews)

(RTTNews) - Economic activity in the U.S. has increased only slightly since early January, according to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, a compilation of anecdotal evidence on economic conditions in each of the twelve Fed districts.

The Beige Book, released Wednesday afternoon, said eight districts reported slight to modest growth in activity, three others reported no change and one district noted a slight softening.

Consumer spending, particularly on retail goods, was said to have edged down in recent weeks, with several reports citing heightened price sensitivity by consumers and noting households continued to trade down and to shift spending away from discretionary goods.

The report also said employment rose at a slight to modest pace in most districts, as businesses generally found it easier to fill open positions and find qualified applicants.

Wages also saw further growth across districts, although the Fed said several reports indicated a slower pace of growth.

With regard to inflation, the Fed said price pressures persisted during the reporting period, but several districts reported some degree of moderation in inflation.

While contacts highlighted increases in freight costs and several insurance categories, the Beige Book said businesses found it harder to pass through higher costs to their customers.

The Beige Book is typically released two weeks ahead of the Fed's next monetary policy meeting, with the next meeting scheduled for March 19-20.

CME Group's FedWatch Tool currently indicates a 95.0 percent the Fed will leave interest rates unchanged at the March meeting.

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