Almost all 12 districts in the United States reported moderate or moderate growth in economic activity in early 2018, Bloomberg reports citing a study by the Federal Reserve System.
The Beige Book Central Bank economic review is based on data collected by 12 federal reserve banks for the period until January 8. The Dallas Fed was an exception, reporting "strong growth."
"The outlook for 2018 remains optimistic for most respondents across the country," the survey said.
The review as a whole confirms the Fed's forecast for 2018, according to which economic growth will be 2.5%, and interest rates will be raised three times.
Investors, judging by the prices of futures on federal funds, are fully pledged by at least two additional increases.
"Most districts pointed to the continuing rigidity of the labor market and difficulties in finding qualified workers in all specialties and sectors, which in some cases was described as a factor holding back growth," the Beige Book says.
According to the US Department of Labor, the country's unemployment rate last month remained at 4.1%, the lowest since December 2000.
Most counties said wages were growing at a "restrained" pace. At the same time, several districts noted that "companies are raising salaries for a wider range of industries and positions since the previous review."
According to the Beige Book, most districts show moderate or moderate price increases. Firms in some counties said they were able to raise selling prices.
The inflation rate, which the Fed prefers to use, which does not take into account the volatile prices of food and energy, in November was only 1.5% in annual terms.
The indicator has remained below the target 2% level for most of the past five years.
Representatives of the Fed at a meeting in December raised the forecast for GDP growth for 2018 from 2.1% to 2.5%.
On December 22, US President Donald Trump signed a tax reform bill.
Fed chief Janet Yellen said at a press conference that Fed officials "generally identified changes in tax policy as a factor supporting this slightly stronger forecast."
Nearly all respondents in the Chicago Federal Reserve District said tax reform would have a positive effect on their companies.
Most respondents expected to use the money saved by lowering taxes to spend on capital and labor, pay off debt and distribute profits between owners, said the Chicago Federal Reserve.