US Economic Outlook Brightens

23 April 2004

The US economy picked up in March with the creation of 308,000 new jobs, a four year record.

According to the Federal Reserve’s Beige Book: “Economic activity increased across the nation from mid-February through early-April.”

The information, released eight times annually, is the most encouraging the employment market has witnessed for three years.

“The growth was widespread as retail sales moved up noticeably and manufacturing, mining, energy, tourism and services all grew,” the Reserve said. “Most districts indicated that hiring had increased.”

The report also said ‘significant’ increases in health benefits for employees were offset by modest rises both in consumer prices and wage settlements.

Analysts are predicting a rise in interest rates this summer if employment holds up.

Marked price rises in commodities and raw materials were the report’s downsides.

Data sourced from: RTE Business; additional content by WARC staff