U.S. Postwar Economy Sluggish, Report Says

By Agence France-Presse A much-anticipated postwar bounce in the U.S. economy has developed into little more than a sputtering recovery, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book survey showed June 11. "The unwinding of war-related concerns appears to have provided some lift to business and consumer confidence, but most reports suggested that the effect has not been dramatic," it said. None of the Federal Reserve's districts reported an actual decline in activity, but the performance remained sub par, the report stated. "Although reports from the 12 Federal Reserve districts indicated some signs of increased economic activity in April and May, conditions remained sluggish in most districts," said the report. The Beige Book survey, released eight times a year, summarizes information collected by the 12 districts of the Federal Reserve System. Four districts including New York reported a livelier economy. Two other districts were mixed. The report will be on the table when the Federal Reserve policymakers meet June 24-25 to discuss their target for the federal funds interest rate, which lies at a 42-year low of 1.25%. The Beige Book survey revealed a still-patchy economic landscape with consumer spending slow albeit with a brighter outlook, manufacturing mixed, housing strong and job markets feeble. Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2003

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