Fed reports modest growth around nation in new survey

WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve reports that the U.S. economy grew at a modest rate this fall, with solid gains in consumer spending helping to offset lingering weakness in exports stemming from a strong dollar.

The Fed’s survey of economic conditions around the country found that seven of its 12 districts described growth as modest to moderate, while another three saw growth as slight. Richmond viewed activity as mixed. New York said activity had been flat since the last survey.

The survey, known as the “Beige Book,” will be used when Fed officials meet on Dec. 13-14. The central bank is expected to raise a key interest rate slightly in response to steady gains in employment and a modest pickup in inflation. The Fed has not raised rates in a year.