Fed survey says economic activity has picked up but outlook remains cloudy

People cross Broadway with shopping bags in Manhattan, New York City, US

The Federal Reserve says economic activity has picked up in most regions of the country but still remains well below pre-pandemic levels with the country facing high levels of uncertainty.

The Fed reported Wednesday that its latest survey of economic conditions around the country found improvements in consumer spending and other areas but said the gains were from very low levels seen when widespread lockdowns push the country into a deep recession.

And the report said that business contacts in the Fed's 12 regions remained wary about the future.

Outlooks remained highly uncertain as contacts grappled with how long the Covid-19 pandemic would continue and the magnitude of its economic implications, the Fed said in its latest Beige Book.

The information in the report will provide guidance for Fed officials at their next meeting on July 28-29. Economists expect the central bank to keep its benchmark interest rate at a record low as it tries to cushion the economy from the pandemic downturn.



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