WASHINGTON, Jan. 15 (Xinhua) -- U.S. economic activity continued to expand across most regions and sectors from late November through the end of December, driven by consumer spending and industrial production, a Fed report said on Wednesday.
In Fed's latest Beige Book which gauges twelve region's local economy, nine Districts indicated the local economy was expanding at a moderate pace. The economic outlook was positive in most Districts, with some reports citing expectations of "more of the same" and some expecting a pickup in growth.
Three-quarters of the Districts indicated that retail activity had increased since the last Beige Book report. The exceptions were St. Louis and Kansas City, where retail results were mixed, and the Richmond District, which cited a softening of retail sales.
All Districts reported year-over-year increases in manufacturing activity, although Kansas City noted slower growth in December.
Real estate markets generally continued to improve. Although a few Districts indicated home sales or residential construction in some areas had slowed or declined in recent months, most cited increased residential sales activity and construction as well as rising home prices.
Almost half the Districts reported that prices were stable. Most other Districts noted small increases in prices. Upward movements in wages were cited by 8 of the 12 Districts. The increases were described as small to moderate. Two-thirds of Districts noted increases in hiring.
The Beige Book is based on economic information supplied by the Fed's 12 regional banks and is released eight times a year to provide a snapshot of the local economy. It is updated about two weeks before each of the Fed's policy-setting meeting.