Beige Book Points Out Slow Gains

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 30 (UPI) — The Federal Reserve said the U.S. economy has shown “slow to moderate” gains since mid-October.

In the Fed’s periodic summary of the U.S. economy, known as the Beige Book report, the central bank said “overall economic activity increased at a slow to moderate pace since the previous report.”

In recent reports, the Fed had been describing an economic recovery that was hanging tough, despite a long slide in stock markets that began with a set of dour manufacturing reports in May.

Stock markets on Wall Street took a surprising rebound Wednesday when the Fed announced it would coordinate with five other central banks — the European Central Bank and the central banks of Canada, Britain, Japan and Switzerland — to lower the cost of existing dollar swap lines by 50 basis points beginning Dec. 5.

The Dow Jones industrial average of blue-chip stock added 490 points, its largest one-day gain in 32 months.

Wednesday’s Beige Book report said “consumer spending rose modestly” in the past month, although the economy showed familiar weakness in housing and construction. Manufacturing “grew at a steady pace” across most of the country, the Fed said.

The employment situation was described as steady to mixed.

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