Economic outlook of US slightly better in November

Economic outlook of US slightly better in November

WASHINGTON - Agence France-Presse
The U.S. economy picked up some steam in November as consumer spending rose modestly, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in a report ahead of its monetary policy meeting next month.

“Overall economic activity increased at a slow to moderate pace since the previous report” on Oct. 19, the Fed’s regular Beige Book review of regional economies said.

The report, a compilation of anecdotal information by the Fed’s 12 districts nationwide, is to be discussed at the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Dec. 13.

Only the St. Louis Fed, whose district includes Alabama and parts of six other states, reported a decline in economic activity.

Business activity in the services sector was “flat to higher” since the prior report, while manufacturing activity rose “at a steady pace” across most of the nation, the Beige Book said.

Consumer spending, which typically accounts for two-thirds of economic output, rose “modestly,” it said, noting a gain in car sales and “signs of strength” in tourism, especially in New York and Atlanta, Georgia.

However, there was little sign of improvement in the job market, where the unemployment rate has been stuck at 9 percent and above since April.

“Hiring was generally subdued,” said the central bank, whose dual mandate is full employment and price stability.

The Fed also said price increases remained “subdued” and some cost pressures were reported to have eased.

RDQ Economics analysts said the report was “slightly more upbeat than the October report,” but added that its language is “consistent with lackluster activity.”