Fed says economic gains tempered by trade worries

FILE - In this April 23, 2019, file photo building cranes are seen at the construction site of a condominium complex with the Lower Manhattan skyline seen in the background in Weehawken, N.J. The Federal Reserve releases its latest "Beige Book" survey of economic conditions on Wednesday, June 5. The Beige Book is based on anecdotal reports from businesses and will be considered along with other data when Fed policymakers meet next. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez, File)

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve says most areas of the country saw a slight improvement in economic activity in the spring, but those gains were tempered by concerns over rising trade tensions.

In its latest report on economic conditions nationwide, the Fed says businesses reported solid hiring in businesses ranging from retail to manufacturing and construction. However, in many areas employment growth was being constrained by tight labor markets, forcing some companies to boost wages to attract workers.

The Fed report, known as the beige book, will be used for discussion when the central bank meets to set interest rate policy on June 18-19. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said Tuesday that the Fed was prepared to "act as appropriate" to protect the economy from any fallout from a widening trade war.

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