Fed: Economy Ended 2013 With More Moderate Growth

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For much of 2013, the adjectives most commonly used by the Federal Reserve to describe the progress of the U.S. economic recovery were “modest” and “moderate.” For lay readers of the beige book report, those terms are not only hard to distinguish, but they are both extremely vague in nature.

But these negatives are inescapable: Terms like “modest” and “moderate” stand in for a numeric index, which would make the Fed’s reports much easier to summarize. It’s the central bank’s reading of current economic conditions that allows for a more detailed picture of economic growth, from which trends in consumer spending, manufacturing, and real estate can be picked out. The beige book report, released every six weeks, provides an anecdotal snapshot of the economy.

Given the anecdotal nature of the report, it is difficult to definitively say the economy noticeably improved in the past six weeks. Once again, economic conditions across the nation were mixed, although in general, growth progressed at a “moderate” pace. By district, economic activity expanded moderately in nine regions, including the Atlanta and Chicago districts, where conditions improved compared to the previous reporting period, while modest growth was reported in Boston and Philadelphia.

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