Wall Street Journal Online (02/29/12) Steven Russolillo
The U.S. Federal Reserve’s beige book report largely reiterates what Fed chairman Ben Bernanke said in his Feb. 29 testimony before Congress. The economy is growing at a “modest to moderate” pace, which is in line with many of the economic assessments that have been issued in recent weeks. The beige book report also indicates that the Philadelphia- and Atlanta-area economies are expanding faster than the economies in other areas of the U.S. The Fed says labor markets are slightly improving, as are banking conditions and housing. Bernanke warned that higher gasoline prices in the short term could boost inflation temporarily, but long-term expectations for inflation “remain subdued,” he said.