WASHINGTON—The U.S. economy’s recovery picked up to a “modest or moderate” pace this fall, while growth began to slow in November in parts of the Midwest and Northeast as coronavirus cases proliferated, a Federal Reserve report said Wednesday.
The Fed’s periodic compilation of anecdotes from business contacts, known as the Beige Book, said the expansion continued in most of the central bank’s 12 districts across the country. But four regional Fed branches reported “little or no growth,” and four noted that activity began to slow in early November.
“Firms’ outlooks remained positive; however, optimism has waned” the report said. “Many contacts cited concerns over the recent pandemic wave, mandated restrictions (recent and prospective), and the looming expiration dates for unemployment benefits and for moratoriums on evictions and foreclosures.”
The Fed’s previous Beige Book report characterized economic growth in the early fall as at a “slight to modest” pace.
Banks reported deterioration in loan portfolios—particularly commercial lending to retail, hospitality and leisure businesses—and expectations of an uptick in delinquencies became more widespread, the Beige Book added.