U.S. economy growing in all regions, led by small businesses

Perhaps the economy does best when politicians do nothing.

While Democrats and Republicans continued inaction has resulted in the Sequester Cuts, businesses across the country seem to be more than just weathering the partisan battle, they're actually experiencing growth and are increasingly optimistic.

That's according to a report by the Federal Reserve that was released on Wednesday, which said the economy grew "at a modest to moderate pace" in January and February across the nation. Related or not, the report came a day after the NYSE's Dow Jones Industrial Average had a record-setting day.

The Beige Book, which summarzies survey information provided by businesses and other sources, showed that five of the Federal Reserve's 12 districts reported moderate growth, and five reported modest business growth. Economic improvement was slower in the Boston and Chicago districts.

Most of the areas experienced increases in consumer spending, despite retail sales slowing in some markets. This was offset by strong automobile sales, the report said, along with tourism and an increasing demand for services.

Also up were manufacturing and strong demand in the food and residential construction industries. Consumer and commercial real estate sales were up in nearly all of the Fed's districts, with rising home prices and falling inventories, as well as improved availability of financing. It noted that residential real estate loan demand was strongest in the Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta and Chicago areas, mainly driven by refinances due to continued low interest rates.

"Agricultural conditions varied across the country, with some areas continuing to suffer from drought while others reported considerable precipitation and improved soil moisture levels. Districts reporting on energy activity indicated modest expansions in crude oil and natural gas exploration, while mining activity slowed."

Earlier on Wednesday, payroll and human resources services provider ADP released its monthly jobs report, which showed an increase of 198,000 new jobs in the U.S., with most coming from small and mid-sized businesses. The official government employment report will be released on Friday.

 

 

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