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Economy Warming After Winter; Growth Modest to Moderate, Says Fed

Just as spring is emerging after a bitter winter, the economy is showing signs of a thaw and has rebounded from the deep-freeze in recent weeks, the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday.

Economic activity was modest or moderate in eight of the Fed's 12 districts, with consumer spending up as well. The so-called Beige Book report indicated that the picture was more mixed for housing, with prices higher but inventories low.

The economy is thawing out from the deep freeze of winter, with activity modest to moderate in eight of the Fed's 12 districts.
The U.S. Federal Reserve during a snowstorm in Washington last month. Severe winter weather hit the economy in January and February, but now growth is modest to moderate in eight of the Fed's 12 districts, the Beige Book said. KAREN BLEIER / AFP - Getty Images

Economic activity picked up in Chicago, Philadelphia and New York, but declined in Cleveland and St. Louis.

The economy stumbled early in the year as snow storms and bitter cold disrupted activity. In its last Beige Book report in early March, the Fed said severe weather across much of the United States had taken a toll on shopping and consumer spending in the weeks prior, leading to slower economic growth or outright contraction in some areas of the country.

Separately, Fed chief Janet Yellen said in a speech that the central bank would keep interest rates low while the economy is clearly still recovering from the recession.

- CNBC

(Reuters contributed to this report)