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Economy's Growing At 'Modest To Moderate Pace,' Fed Says

Part I of the news from the Federal Reserve on Wednesday was Chairman Ben Bernanke's signal to the financial markets that the central bank won't be shifting away from its "easy money" policy just yet.

Part II was just released. In its latest "Beige Book" review of economic conditions around the nation the Fed says that:

"Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicate that overall economic activity continued to increase at a modest to moderate pace."

In other words, the economy continues to chug along much as it has for the last few years. As Bloomberg News notes:

"The previous Beige Book, released June 5, used the same phrase as today's report, a 'modest to moderate pace,' to describe growth across 11 of 12 districts."

Among the evidence of continued growth cited in the latest Beige Book:

" Manufacturing expanded in most Districts since the previous report, with many Districts reporting increases in new orders, shipments, or production. Most Districts noted that overall consumer spending and auto sales increased during the reporting period. ... Hiring held steady or increased at a measured pace in most Districts, with some contacts noting reluctance to hire permanent or full-time workers."

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.
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