U.S. economic activity increased in most regions -Fed

WASHINGTON Wed Apr 16, 2014 2:03pm EDT

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. economic activity picked up in recent weeks as a weather-related drag lifted, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.

In its Beige Book report of anecdotal information on business activity collected from contacts nationwide, the U.S. central bank said eight of its 12 districts characterized growth as "modest to moderate."

Chicago reported that growth had picked up, while New York and Philadelphia said activity had rebounded from slowdowns related to severe weather earlier in the year.

"Reports from the 12 Federal Reserve Districts suggest economic activity increased in most regions of the country since the previous report," the Fed said.

The report, compiled by the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond from data collected before April 7, is broadly in line with data ranging from retail sales to industrial production that have suggested growing momentum in the economy in step with warmer weather.

The economy stumbled early in the year as snow storms and bitter cold disrupted activity.

The Beige Book found that consumer spending had increased in recent weeks in most districts. Auto sales were up in seven districts, while manufacturing improved in most districts.

"Several districts reported that the impact of winter weather was less severe than earlier this year," the Fed said.

(Reporting by Lucia Mutikani; Editing by Paul Simao)

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