2:10 PM » Growth held down by fiscal worries: Beige Book
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The U.S. economy expanded at either a modest or moderate pace across the country in December and early January, as spending and hiring were held down by concerns over fiscal policy, according to the latest Federal Reserve Beige Book survey released Wednesday. Concerns about tax and spending policies also impacted housing in at least one region, the survey found. Manufacturing activity was mixed, with three of the 12 Fed regions reporting a decline in factory activity. The labor market, a key focus of Fed officials, was seen as mostly unchanged. Several districts reported delayed hiring, often in defense manufacturing, due to fiscal cliff uncertainties. Congress and the White House released a deal on taxes to avert the fiscal cliff late in December. The Fed survey covered conditions through Jan. 4.