US Economy Grew Modestly, but Unevenly in Recent Weeks

Posted September 7th, 2011 at 3:46 pm (UTC-5)
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The U.S. central bank says the country's economy grew modestly in the last several weeks, even as consumers cut their spending and factories curbed their production in some communities.

The Federal Reserve said Wednesday said the survey of its 12 geographic districts showed that economic growth was uneven throughout the nation from mid-July to near the end of last month. The bank said some areas reported weaker expansion than before, and that the recent stock market volatility and increased economic uncertainty had led some to be more cautious about their outlook for the coming months.

The central bank periodically surveys regions of the U.S. for its Beige Book reports, and uses the information to decide what fiscal policies it may need to adopt or change. The bank's chairman, Ben Bernanke, said last month that the American economy is weaker than was predicted earlier this year.

When the bank's policy makers meet later this month, they plan to consider ways to boost the U.S. economy and promote job growth. About 14 million workers are unemployed in the U.S. and the jobless rate has hovered near 9 percent for 29 straight months.

The U.S. economy, the world's largest, has been buffeted recently by a series of events that has contributed to diminished consumer confidence. That is an important factor in the American economy, 70 percent of which is driven by consumer spending.

Congress engaged in a protracted debate before agreeing to raise the country's borrowing limit, one financial services company cut the nation's top-rated credit rating for the first time, and then the country's populous East Coast was hit by an earthquake and hurricane in the same week.