The US economic recovery continued to improve
moderately across all regions at the end of February and through March, with most of the
Federal Reserve's 12 districts reporting widespread gains, the Fed said on
Higher costs for commodities and raw materials led some companies to raise prices, but the ability to pass on higher prices to consumers varied across regions and sectors.
The beige book noted that reports focusing on the near-term outlook were most often upbeat. Some districts, however, also noted that uncertainties remained high. Boston, Philadelphia, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, Minneapolis, and Dallas all noted actual or expected disruptions to sales and production as a result of the tragedy in Japan.
Most districts reported signs of improvement in at least some of their labour markets and Boston, Richmond, Chicago, and Kansas City cited examples of concern among their contacts about being able to obtain certain types of skilled workers.
Some businesses in the Philadelphia and Cleveland Districts still preferred to hire temporary over permanent workers.
Reaction to Beige Book: Steve Liesman, economics editor at CNBC comments on the report:
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