Photograph by Brendan McDermid—Reuters
By Fortune Editors and Reuters
March 4, 2015

The U.S. economy continued to expand across most regions and sectors from early January through mid-February, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday, with auto sales and consumer spending rising in most Fed districts.

In its Beige Book report of anecdotal information on business activity collected from contacts across the nation, the central bank said wage pressures were moderate across most districts.

But the report said that some contacts reported increased wages to attract skilled workers for difficult-to-fill positions. The Fed is watching wage pressure closely for signs that stubbornly low inflation is beginning to tick higher.

Oil and gas producers in certain districts anticipate cuts in capital expenditures this year, in a sign of low energy prices biting the industry.

Declining oil prices has weakened demand for oil services and equipment, and many oil and natural gas producers are cutting back on capital expenditures.

In the northeast of the U.S., poor weather has meant slower construction activity, but the commercial real estate sector is improving in most districts, and residential markets are seeing higher prices and sales.


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