Economy Expanding More Quickly, Fed Says in Beige Book Report

The U.S. economy expanded at a "moderate" pace across much of the nation in recent weeks, with the auto industry showing strong growth and banking conditions improving, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.

In its Beige Book report of anecdotal information on business activity collected from contacts across the nation, the central bank said six of its 12 districts reported economic growth as "moderate."

Labor market conditions, as measured by hiring trends, were reported to be relatively unchanged from generally modest rates in most districts, the Fed said.

But the Fed said nearly all the districts reported difficulties finding certain types of skilled labor, citing information technology, truck drivers and construction workers as some of the occupations with shortfalls.

"Overall, price pressures remained largely unchanged," it added.

Since the last Beige Book in July, the Fed said most districts reported continued expansion in auto sales, with record high levels reported in the Philadelphia and Dallas districts