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President Barack Obama stands with Ben Bernanke before making a statement on his reappointment as chairman of the Federal Reserve during the President’s vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, Aug. 25, 2009.
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
The Fed's anecdotal report on economic activity, called
the beige book, reported a “steady improvement” in manufacturing,
which included hiring, and at least 10 districts cited “slight gains” in
Economic improvement was mostly described as moderate by many districts,
according to the data collected up until April 4.
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: