There have been layoffs in "multiple" regions of the country due to lower gas and oil prices, according to the latest Beige Book report on economic conditions released by the Federal Reserve on Wednesday. Layoffs were concentrated in the middle of the country, from Cleveland and Minneapolis, down through Kansas City, Atlanta and Dallas. The Minneapolis region contains North Dakota, where U.S. shale gas production is concentrated. Overall, the Fed said that the U.S. economy from mid-February through the end of March was expanding at a moderate or modest pace. The strong dollar was hurting manufacturers, the report said. One positive note was an improvement in residential real estate markets in "most" districts. There were some signs of modest upward pressure on wages and prices, the report said.
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