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Fed's Beige Book shows prices appear to be rising quicker, economic growth is up

Economic activity throughout the U.S. picked up this fall, and there are signs that prices have risen at a faster pace in recent weeks, according to the Federal Reserve's latest Beige Book.

The report, which summarizes Fed districts’ input from their contacts, says all 12 Fed districts saw their economies increase "at a modest to moderate pace" in October and mid-November.

The Beige Book also says that "price pressures have strengthened" since the Fed’s previous report. Many districts say they are seeing higher costs for lumber and more demand for building supplies as efforts to rebuild areas damaged by hurricanes pick up. Prices for homes also "generally increased." Several districts say manufacturers are seeing higher costs to make and transport their products – and that companies are often passing along the price increases to consumers.

Most districts say wage growth is "modest or moderate," particularly in "professional, technical, and production positions that remain difficult to fill," and that employers are increasingly using bonuses and other benefits to attract employees or keep existing ones.

There are also "widespread" reports of a tight labor market, and in some parts of the country, employers say they are holding back on expanding their workforce because they cannot find enough workers.