WASHINGTON (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 04th March, 2021) US economic growth continued at a modest pace in the six weeks to mid-February, with some pick-up in wages reported although price pressures were muted, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book economic report said covering economic trends in that time interval.
"Several Districts reported modest wage increases for high-demand positions with many also noting upward pressure on wages to attract and retain employees," the Federal Reserve said. "Reports on pricing power were mixed, with some retailers and manufacturers affected by input cost increases reporting the ability to pass prices through, while many others were unable to raise prices."
The Beige Book economic report, based on anecdotal information collected by the Federal Reserve's 12 reserve banks, comes just as data on Wednesday showed fewer than expected jobs were created in the private market.
US private sector jobs grew by 117,000 in February, private payrolls surveyor ADP said. Some economists polled by US media said they expected the ADP to report a growth of 200,000 private sector jobs for February.
The Beige Book and ADP reports tempered investor optimism ahead of the nonfarm payrolls report that is due on Friday. Economists are expecting a total public and private sector jobs growth of 180,000 for February, after an expansion of 49,000 in January.
The Federal Reserve explained that higher wages did not translate into a faster pace of inflation as input costs, led by steel and lumber prices, but rose only moderately and retailers did not pass these on the consumers.
"On balance, wage increases for many districts are expected to persist or to pick up somewhat over the next several months," it said.
The outlook on US consumers, the backbone of the country's economy, also remains murky at best, the Beige Book said, noting only slight improvements in travel and tourism activity due to continued COVID-19 restrictions.