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Thursday, December 3, 2009

US sees improved economic conditions: Fed

The US Federal Reserve has said that economic activities have improved modestly in recent months, primarily helped by better consumer spending.

However, the labour market situation continued to remain weak with rising layoffs and sluggish hiring activities, the apex bank noted.

The Federal Reserve's Beige Book, which provides a snapshot of economic activities in the 12 districts, said "economic conditions have generally improved modestly" in recent months.

In eight districts, the activities witnessed improvement while it remained little or mixed in the remaining four.

Consumer spending picked up moderately for both general merchandise and vehicles, while manufacturing conditions remained more or less steady.

"Labour market conditions remained weak since the last report, with further layoffs, sluggish hiring, and high levels of unemployment in most districts," the report said.

Nonetheless there were signs of stabilisation and "scattered signs of improvement", it added.

Grappling with adverse financial condition, many firms have resorted to huge job cuts as part of their efforts to bring down costs. The unemployment rate touched a 26-year-high of 10.2 per cent in October.

To tackle the raging financial turmoil, the US government have come up with various measures, including massive stimulus packages and near-zero interest rate regime

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