U.S. Economy Growing Modestly

The U.S. economy expanded modestly from October to mid-November and the outlook for growth was generally positive while labor markets remained tight across the country, the Federal Reserve said in a report on Wednesday, Reuters writes.

The latest temperature check of the economy, gathered from the central bank’s discussions with business contacts around the country, also said prices had increased at a modest pace.

“Outlooks generally remained positive with some contacts expecting the current pace of growth to continue into next year,” the Fed said in its “Beige Book” report.

Several Fed districts reported “relatively strong job gains” in professional and technical services as well as in health care. The picture was more mixed for manufacturing, with some districts noting rising headcounts while others said employment remained stable. One district reported layoffs.

Overall, employment continued to rise, even as tight labor markets across the country made it difficult for employers to find the workers they needed. Some contacts said their inability to fill vacancies was constraining business growth.

For example, two employment agencies in the New York district said “almost all job candidates” already are employed and are not interested in changing positions at this time of year.

Agricultural conditions were largely unchanged and remained strained by weather and low crop prices. In the Fed’s Richmond district, farmers have been hesitant to invest in land or equipment.

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