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Beige Book: Economy Broadly Slower in Early 2008

Federal Reserve districts all saw decelerating economic growth in early 2008, even as prices

pressed upward almost everywhere, the central bank's "Beige Book" report on economic conditions said on Wednesday.

"Reports from the twelve Federal Reserve Districts suggest that economic growth has slowed since the beginning of the year," the Fed said in its anecdotal summary.

The Beige Book was compiled with information collected through Feb. 25.

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For the full Beige Book text, Click Here.

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The Fed's survey found service industries slowing in most Fed districts, while manufacturing was sluggish in half of the Fed's 12 regions. Residential real estate markets were generally weak, and reports on retail spending were downbeat, the report said.

At the same time, upward pressure on prices from rising materials and energy costs showed up in almost all the district reports, the Fed said. Businesses in many regions said they had only mixed success in raising their prices to recoup increased costs.

Meanwhile, most districts said businesses were reporting limited wage pressures and some loosening of labor markets.

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