Federal Reserve: Economy growing, prices rising

By Annalyn Censky, staff reporter


NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Businesses are passing on surging costs to consumers. Hiring is modest. Wages are barely rising. The housing market is still struggling.

But the economy is expanding at a"modest to moderate pace", the Federal Reserve said.

That's the picture from the Fed's Beige Book report released Wednesday.

Retailers and manufacturers across all 12 of the Federal Reserve's districts said they're seeing higher input costs. That's no surprise given surging prices on everything from oil to food lately.

But while they told the Fed they're already passing on some of those costs to customers, homebuilders -- especially in the Cleveland and Atlanta districts -- are not, most likely due to the troubled housing market.

Both commercial and residential construction continues to be one of the slower segments of the economy, while manufacturers, retailers and financial firms reported slight growth.

Meanwhile, it's still tough to get credit, and in some regions, banks are actually tightening their standards.

The Fed reported little evidence of wages increasing in most of its districts.

The report echoes recent comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, who acknowledges rising prices are impacting the average American, but not yet at a level that will derail the recovery.

The Beige Book summarizes economic conditions in the central bank's 12 districts across the nation, and is released eight times a year. To top of page

Frontline troops push for solar energy
The U.S. Marines are testing renewable energy technologies like solar to reduce costs and casualties associated with fossil fuels. Play
25 Best Places to find rich singles
Looking for Mr. or Ms. Moneybags? Hunt down the perfect mate in these wealthy cities, which are brimming with unattached professionals. More
Fun festivals: Twins to mustard to pirates!
You'll see double in Twinsburg, Ohio, and Ketchup lovers should beware in Middleton, WI. Here's some of the best and strangest town festivals. Play
Index Last Change % Change
Dow 17,061.44 -37.01 -0.22%
Nasdaq 4,590.19 9.92 0.22%
S&P 500 2,002.14 -1.23 -0.06%
Treasuries 2.40 0.06 2.43%
Data as of 10:05am ET
Company Price Change % Change
Apple Inc 103.02 0.52 0.51%
Bank of America Corp... 16.09 0.00 0.00%
Facebook Inc 75.44 0.62 0.83%
Staples Inc 12.28 0.60 5.09%
Yahoo! Inc 38.95 0.44 1.14%
Data as of 9:50am ET

Sections

Online flower peddler is buying fruit gift basket retailers for $142.5 million. More

Gas prices are falling to nearly $3 a gallon in some parts of South Carolina, and that will soon be common in much of the country. More

Microsoft is expected to begin showing off Windows 9's features later this month. Here are the expected changes you should be thrilled about. More

The Coolest Cooler is the most successful Kickstarter campaign in the site's history, raising $13.3 million from over 62,000 backers. More

A scam where fraudsters impersonate IRS agents has now stolen $5 million from taxpayers, and this woman - who lost her entire life savings -- is just one of its victims. More

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.