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U.S. economy has expanded modestly since mid-August, Fed says

The economy has expanded modestly since mid-August, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its latest Beige Book report, but the district headquartered in Kansas City said its economy slowed slightly.

Two of the Fed’s 12 districts, based in Boston and Richmond, Va., said economic activity picked up, and nine others said their growth remained moderate.

Consumer spending overall remained steady, the Fed report said, and an improving housing market helped too. But factory output was sluggish in part because of the strong dollar.

Labor markets “tightened in most districts” even as wage growth remained subdued, with increases concentrated among highly skilled workers, the report said. Price pressures were “contained,” as some districts saw cheaper energy and commodities, according to the survey, which is based on information Fed district banks gathered on or before Oct. 5.

The Fed’s report echoes other recent data that suggest the economy, though still expanding, has run into headwinds from overseas and lost momentum.

Star news services

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