Olives are harvested in a grove at an olive-oil-producing group of farmers near the village of Montarnaud in southern France. Regional farmers began harvesting their olives in November and will continue until January. ( Guillaume Horcajuelo/European Pressphoto Agency )
Fed survey reports modest growth

The Federal Reserve reports that the U.S. economy grew at a modest rate this fall, according to a survey of economic conditions around the country.

The survey, known as the “beige book,” found that seven of the 12 Fed districts described growth as modest to moderate. An additional three districts — Philadelphia, Cleveland and Kansas City — saw a “slight” pace of growth. Richmond viewed activity as mixed, and New York said activity had been flat.

The survey will be used when Fed officials meet Dec. 13 and 14. The central bank is expected to raise a key interest rate slightly in response to steady gains in employment and a modest pickup in inflation.

A majority of districts reported higher retail sales. These gains helped to offset a slowdown in sales of new autos.

Manufacturing demand was described as mixed, with some weakness attributed to lingering effects from the rise of the dollar.

Seven districts — Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis and Dallas — reported that the demand for workers was increasing.

— Associated Press

Spending, incomes rose in October

U.S. consumers boosted their spending again in October, while incomes increased at the fastest clip in six months. A key gauge of inflation watched by the Federal Reserve posted the fastest 12-month gain in two years.

Consumer spending increased 0.3 percent in October after a revised 0.7 percent jump in September, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. Incomes increased 0.6 percent, the best showing since April.

An inflation gauge closely followed by the Fed increased 1.4 percent, compared with a year ago. With incomes rising, the saving rate jumped to 6 percent in October, from 5.7 percent in September.

The rise in spending reflected a 1 percent increase in purchases of durable goods such as autos and a 1.4 percent rise in spending on nondurable goods.

— Associated Press

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