Economy grows

Fed: Economy grows, but snowstorms hurt some areas
Fed Beige Book survey: Economy grows though snowstorms crimp activity along the East Coast

Jeannine Aversa, AP Economics Writer, On Wednesday March 3, 2010, 4:13 pm
WASHINGTON (AP) — The economy is growing slowly, but snowstorms crimped activity along the East Coast last month, according to a Federal Reserve report.

The Fed’s Beige Book survey, released Wednesday, showed that the nation’s recovery is managing to plod ahead though not at a strong enough pace to persuade companies to ramp up hiring. The Fed said “economic conditions continued to expand … although severe snowstorms in early February held back activity.”

Of the Fed’s 12 regions surveyed, nine showed improvement. The Richmond district, which includes Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, was hurt the most by the bad winter. That region reported economic activity had “slackened or remained soft across most sectors” because of the weather.

The economic setbacks from the weather come at a fragile time: The economy is struggling to recover from the worst and longest recession since the 1930s.

After a big growth spurt at the end of 2009, many economists believe the recovery lost steam in the first three months of this year. They predict it will grow at a pace of around 3 percent from January to March. That won’t be fast enough to drive down the unemployment rate, now at 9.7 percent.

The jobs market “remained soft throughout the nation,” the Fed reported.

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