WASHINGTON — A pickup in consumer spending and steady home sales helped lift economic growth from October through early November in most parts of the U.S., according to a Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday.
Growth improved in nine of the Fed's 12 regional banking districts, the survey said. Growth was weaker in New York, Philadelphia and Boston — areas where Sandy caused widespread disruptions.
The survey noted that growth was up despite nervousness about the "fiscal cliff."
Hiring increased in more than half of the districts. But manufacturing shrank or slowed in seven regions and was mixed in two others.
"The weakening in the tone of the Beige Book is clearly linked to the massive disruptions and damage related to Hurricane Sandy and there is no evidence of a wider slowdown in the economy," said Terry Sheehan, an analyst at Stone & McCarthy Research Associates.
Sal Guatieri, senior economist at BMO Capital Markets, said the message from the survey was "the economy looks to have improved slightly in the current quarter, led by housing and consumers though businesses remain worried about the outlook."
The report, called the Beige Book, provides information on economic conditions around the country from October through Nov. 14. The information collected by the regional banks will be used as the basis for the Fed's policy discussion at the Dec. 11-12 meeting.