Economic conditions across the U.S. continued to expand from January to early February with the outlook among most of the twelve Federal Reserve Districts "remained optimistic," the Federal Reserve said Wednesday in its Beige Book.
The eight Districts reported "improved levels of activity," but in most cases the increases were characterized as "modest to moderate." New York and Philadelphia experienced a slight decline in activity, which was mostly attributed to the "unusually severe weather experienced in those regions." Retail sales growth "weakened" for most Districts, as "severe winter weather limited activity. Also manufacturing sales and production in several Districts were "negatively impacted by severe winter weather." Districts reported that energy production and demand continued to increase as a result of increased demand due to the unusually cold winter.
Meanwhile, employment levels improved gradually for most Districts while price pressures remained "subdued, with the exception of upward cost pressures for some energy and construction products."