Fed's Beige Book: U.S. Economy Expands, Labor Market Tightens

FeaturesDow Jones Newswires

WASHINGTON�The economy continued to expand into early October despite some uncertainty generated by the coming presidential election, a Federal Reserve report said Wednesday, indicating more of the slow growth that could leave the central bank on track to raise interest rates late this year.

The Fed's latest report on regional economic conditions, known as the beige book, said most districts reported modest or moderate growth amid tight labor markets and steady wage gains. The survey collected anecdotal information on economic activity from late August through early October from 12 district banks.

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"Outlooks are positive, although contacts in several sectors cite the upcoming presidential election as a source of near-term uncertainty, delaying some business decisions," the Fed's Boston district said in the report.

The beige book report comes two weeks before Fed officials gather for their Nov. 1-2 meeting. Most economists expect policy makers to hold off on any move until the final month of the year�a Wall Street Journal survey of economists found 81.4% believed the Fed will raise rates at its Dec. 13-14 meeting.

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Write to Jeffrey Sparshott at jeffrey.sparshott@wsj.com and Ben Leubsdorf at ben.leubsdorf@wsj.com