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Fed's Beige Book notes continued growth, 'modestly favorable' near-term outlook

The U.S. economy continued to grow at a modest pace in the final six weeks of 2019, and the expectations for the near-term outlook remained modestly favorable across the nation, the Federal Reserve's latest Beige Book found.

The Beige Book is a Federal Reserve System publication about current economic conditions across 12 Federal Reserve Districts. It is an anecdotal summary of Fed officials' conversations with local contacts.

The Dallas and Richmond Districts noted "above-average growth," while Philadelphia, St. Louis and Kansas City reported "sub-par growth," the report noted. Consumer spending rose at a modest to moderate pace, with a number of districts noting some pickup from the previous reporting period.

Vehicle sales generally posted moderate expansion, though a handful of districts reported flat sales. Most districts registered essentially flat manufacturing activity, as in the previous report.

Employment was steady to rising modestly in most districts, while labor markets were still tight throughout the U.S.

Prices and input costs continued to grow modestly. Retail selling prices increased at a slightly faster but still subdued pace in a number of districts. A few districts indicated that some businesses were passing along tariff costs to consumers, mostly in retail but also in construction.