WASHINGTON Oct 20 The U.S. economy grew
sluggishly in recent weeks with scant inflation pressures, and
employers were reluctant to hire or invest amid economic and
policy uncertainties, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.
The U.S. central bank's Beige Book provided further
evidence the economy is stuck in a weak recovery that is
failing to generate new jobs.
The report, prepared for the Fed's next policy-setting
session on Nov. 2-3, is unlikely to derail what appears to be a
consensus among policymakers in favor of additional monetary
Manufacturing was stronger in most of the Fed's 12
districts, buoyed by exports in many places, the anecdotal
report on economic conditions said.
Consumer spending held steady or gained slightly, but
shoppers focused on necessities. Housing markets remained weak,
and although prices appeared to be stabilizing, inventories
were reported as elevated and increasing in areas, the Fed
Higher costs of agricultural commodities and metals were
not passed on to consumers, and wage pressures were minimal, it
In that environment, the job market and business investment
"Businesses continued to postpone capital spending plans
because of economic and public policy uncertainties," the Fed
said. "Hiring remained limited, with many firms reluctant to
add to permanent payrolls given economic softness."
The Beige Book was based on data collected from late
September through Oct. 8 by the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank.
(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Neil Stempleman)