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Fed survey shows growth improving across US

The Wall Street Journal (4/17, Morath, Portlock, Subscription Publication) reports that according to a survey by the Federal Reserve of regional economic conditions, the US economy has experienced significant growth across the country. The survey, released Wednesday, found that gradually improving weather has meant fewer disruptions for manufacturers and stronger demand for business loans at banks.

In its coverage, the AP (4/17) reports that 10 out of 12 regions posted improved economic conditions, with only St. Louis and Cleveland experiencing slower growth. Tourism, consumer spending, and manufacturing all improved, as did road and ship traffic, in what the Fed’s Beige Book called “modest or moderate” economic improvement. The Fed and economists have expressed confidence that the economy is improving and will continue to do so as the weather gets warmer.

Bloomberg News (4/17, Ito) reports that the Beige Book said eight Fed districts reported “modest or moderate” improvement, Chicago “picked up,” and Philadelphia and New York experienced a “rebound” after weather slowed their economies. “Consumer spending increased in most Districts, as weather conditions improved and foot traffic returned… Auto sales were up in” seven districts and “assessments of tourism were generally positive,” the survey found. According to Bloomberg News, Fed Chair Janet Yellen told the Economic Club of New York that she was committed to supporting the recovery even as employment increases. The Beige Book also noted improvements in the job market and “varied” conditions for residential housing.

Factory Output Shows Growth. In a separate article, the AP (4/17) reports that “factory production rose 0.5 percent in March after a revised 1.4 percent surge in February. Manufacturing output has climbed a solid 2.8 percent over the past 12 months.” An economist interviewed said that these numbers are signs of a positive future in the US economy, although the AP writes that “manufacturing indicators have been mixed” recently as they signal an increase in demand but not in hiring.

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