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, in its latest "Beige Book" of economic conditions, said Wednesday that overall economic activity continued to rise at a "modest to moderate pace" in January and early February, and that manufacturing was expanding at a steady pace.

  • Of the 12 Fed districts, New York was the only region to report a slower pace of expansion;
  • As for manufacturing, the Fed said many districts reported increases in new orders, shipments or production, and several districts saw gains in capital spending, especially in auto-related industries;
  • Activity in nonfinancial services industries remained stable or increased, the Fed said;
  • Banking conditions generally improved across the districts, according to the Fed;
  • Hiring increased slightly across several districts;
  • Retail sales in the Philadelphia, Atlanta, St. Louis, Minneapolis, and Kansas City districts were higher than a year earlier;
  • Wage pressures were generally contained, and prices of final goods remained stable, the central bank said.