The Boston Globe | By Christopher S. Rugaber
October 19, 2016
WASHINGTON — US economic growth picked up a bit as summer ended and fall began, supported by modest hiring, an uptick in consumer spending, and steady home building, according to the Federal Reserve.
The Fed’s ‘‘Beige Book’’ survey of economic conditions in its 12 regional bank districts, released Wednesday, found that growth was modest or moderate in eight districts, slight in three, and flat in the New York district. That was an improvement from the September survey, which found that growth weakened in two districts and was unchanged in two.
The mild improvement could encourage Fed policy makers to raise short-term interest rates before the year ends.
Hiring was steady across most of the country, though there were layoffs at factories in the New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, and Richmond districts. Steady job gains lifted wages in most districts.
The Beige Book’s broad picture of a modestly improving economy is consistent with most economists’ estimates that pending data will show growth quickened in the July-September quarter. The economy most likely grew at a 2 to 2.5 percent annual pace, most analysts have forecast. That would be up from a tepid 1.1 percent in the first half of the year.