(MENAFN - Kuwait News Agency (KUNA)) The economy across the U.S. continued to expand at a "modest to moderate pace" from mid-February through late March but there remains to be concern over rising petroleum prices, a report showed here on Wednesday.
The Federal Reserve's Beige Book indicated that reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts indicated that "the economy continued to expand at a modest to moderate pace from mid-February through late March".
It added that manufacturing continued to expand in most Districts.
The report stressed that manufacturers in many Districts expressed "optimism about near-term growth prospects, but they are somewhat concerned about rising petroleum prices".
Demand for professional business services showed "modest to strong growth and freight volume was mainly higher".
Reports on retail spending were "positive," with the unusually warm weather being credited for boosting sales in several Districts.
According to the report, while the near-term outlook for household spending was "encouraging, contacts in several Districts expressed concerns that rising gas prices could limit discretionary spending in the months to come".
Hiring was "steady or showed a modest increase" across many Districts, but "difficulty finding qualified workers, especially for high-skilled positions, was frequently reported".
Upward pressure on wages was "constrained".
Overall price inflation was "modest" but contacts in many Districts commented on "rising transportation costs due to higher fuel prices".