WASHINGTON -- The Federal Reserve says the U.S. economy expanded at a moderate pace in July and early August, buoyed by stronger retail sales.
The Fed report said nine of its 12 districts reported growth that was "modest" or "moderate" and pointed to strength in tourism, although manufacturing was generally described as weaker.
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The report said hiring over the six-week period was slightly more positive than in the previous report, which called hiring "tepid."
The Fed report will inform discussions when central bank policymakers meet Sept. 12-13. Financial markets are hoping the Fed will provide more support to boost a sub-par economic recovery. Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke could signal future moves in a speech Friday.