Fed report shows optimism about US economic outlook

Thanksgiving Day shoppers carry televisions at a Target store in Chicago, Nov 27, 2014. The US economy continued growing in October and November amid widespread optimism about the growth outlook, according to a Federal Reserve report released Wednesd
Thanksgiving Day shoppers carry televisions at a Target store in Chicago, Nov 27, 2014. The US economy continued growing in October and November amid widespread optimism about the growth outlook, according to a Federal Reserve report released Wednesday. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

WASHINGTON (AFP) - The US economy continued growing in October and November amid widespread optimism about the growth outlook, according to a Federal Reserve report released Wednesday.

The Fed’s Beige Book on current economic conditions said that “a number” of the central bank’s 12 districts reported contacts “remained optimistic about the outlook for future economic activity.”

For the first time in more than a year, the Fed dropped its “modest” and moderate” descriptions of overall growth in the world’s largest economy, saying simply that reports suggest “that national economic activity continued to expand” in the last two months.

But the details of the report were encouraging, with contacts in 11 of the districts described as “optimistic” about their sector and the economy’s direction in general.

Notably absent from the upbeat category was the huge San Francisco Fed district, which includes California and eight other western states, where the economy was said to be “improving moderately.”

Consumer spending, which accounts for about two-thirds of US output, “continued to advance” in most districts, said the report, which will inform discussions at the Federal Open Market Committee’s last monetary policy meeting of the year, on Dec 16 and 17.

Employment gains, the primary object of the Fed’s easy-money policy, were described as “widespread” while overall price and wage inflation remained “subdued.”