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U.S. Fed's "Beige Book" reports "slight-to-moderate" growth of U.S. economy
Last Updated: 2019-04-18 10:15 | Xinhua
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U.S. Federal Reserve (Fed) said in its latest "Beige Book" on Wednesday that most areas of the nation saw "slight-to-moderate" economic growth in March and early April.

The "Beige Book," a periodic economic snapshot released by the Fed, contained economic report from 12 federal reserve districts, which were each monitored by a regional federal reserve bank.

"While most Districts reported that growth continued at a similar pace as the previous report, a few Districts reported some strengthening," the Fed said in the "Beige Book."

Speaking of the employment status and price level, two key factors that decide monetary policy, the Fed wrote that "employment continued to increase nationwide" while "prices have risen modestly."

The increase of employment was proved by the latest data. In march, the U.S. economy added 196,000 jobs, while the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.8 percent, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Additionally, the number of people filing for unemployment benefits dropped to 196,000 in the week ending April 6, almost reaching its lowest level since October 1969, the U.S. Department of Labor said.

However, the Fed said that the tightness in labor markets is "restraining the rate of growth."

"A majority of districts cited shortages of skilled laborers, most commonly in manufacturing and construction. Contacts also reported some difficulties finding qualified workers for technical and professional positions," the Fed said.

The Fed also mentioned that input costs rose in the modest-to-moderate range, adding that tariffs, freight costs and rising wages were key factors for the increase.

On principle, the tight labor market and rising price level could urge Fed officials to keep on track to raise short-term interest rates in order to prevent an overheat in the U.S. economy.

The Fed held interest rates flat during its latest policy meeting from March 19 to March 20. The minutes of the meeting showed that the central bank was still "patient" on further rate hikes.

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