Personal Finance

April 16, 2014

Federal Reserve reports greater economic growth in March

Ten of the Fed’s 12 regions, including Kansas City, reported an increase in economic activity, according to the Beige Book survey. In most places, the Fed described the improvement as “modest or moderate.” Only Cleveland and St. Louis reported slower growth.

A Federal Reserve survey shows economic growth picking up across most of the United States over the past two months as bitter winter weather subsided.

Ten of the Fed’s 12 regions, including Kansas City, reported an increase in economic activity, according to the Beige Book survey released Wednesday. In most places, the Fed described the improvement as “modest or moderate.” Only Cleveland and St. Louis reported slower growth.

In March and early April, consumers took advantage of better weather to go shopping. Manufacturing expanded across most of the country. Ports and highways were busier. Tourism was “generally positive.”

The Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City reported that the economy grew “moderately” last month in the seven-state area it monitors, which includes Kansas and the northern half of Missouri. Businesses in the region also were optimistic about future growth, the report said.

The Kansas City Fed reported that consumer spending “increased despite flat auto sales, with solid sales expectations heading forward.” In addition, manufacturing activity grew further in March, and commercial and residential real estate activity strengthened.

More businesses in the Kansas City district reported “higher wage pressures and labor shortages for skilled positions” than in previous surveys.

The Beige Book is based on anecdotal reports from businesses and will be considered along with other data when Fed policymakers meet April 29 and 30.

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