Beige Book: U.S. Economic Recovery Continues Despite Trouble Spots

The U.S. economic recovery continued early in 2015 despite a stronger dollar, plunging crude oil prices and an unusually cold winter weather, according to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book.

The Beige Book, published by Fed ahead of policy meetings, surveys businesses on the economic conditions from each of the 12 Federal Reserve districts.

Parts of the country were negatively impacted by diminished demand for exports.

U.S. goods have become more expensive to foreign buyers as the dollar strengthened to its highest levels in more than a decade.

Farmers in Texas and California also struggled to deal with the stronger dollar, and Rust Belt manufactures reported similar problems.

Regions depending on the energy sector also noted some difficulties, including Texas, the Gulf Coast and North Dakota, as crude oil prices collapsed to 6-year lows.

Both the New York and Boston Districts reported that harsh winter weather negatively affected retail business in their Districts.

On the jobs front, "payrolls remained stable or expanded across the districts, and contacts noted employment gains in a broad range of sectors," the Fed statement said. "Wage pressures remained moderate and were limited largely to workers in skilled occupations. Most District contacts cited only flat to slightly increasing prices."

All told, its been a cold, rough winter in parts of the country, but the economy is holding up relatively well. Last year's winter economic lull was much more severe, and most respondents in a variety of sectors were optimistic about the outlook for the rest of the year.

The Federal Reserve remains likely to raise interest rates mid-year despite persistently low inflation and headwinds from Europe.

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