6/6/2012 3:30:00 PM
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The U.S. economy grew at a moderate pace in April and May as manufacturing improved, and trucking and transportation activity were generally higher, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.
Freight levels rose in Cleveland, while railroad contacts in the Atlanta district showed continued growth, the Fed said in its latest â€œbeige bookâ€� report, which it releases eight times a year.
Demand for trucking services improved in San Francisco, Kansas City reported flat transportation activity and Dallas noted mixed results from shipping firms, the report said.
Overall factory activity improved in most districts, but manufacturers were concerned that Europeâ€™s slowdown and domestic political uncertainty may affect future business decisions.
Carriers in the Cleveland district reported negotiating rate increases as freight contracts came up for renewal, while noting wage pressure from a tighter driver pool.
Transportation firms replaced aging equipment units and added capacity, though there were two reports about small carriers reducing fleet sizes due to high replacement costs, the Fed said.
Wednesdayâ€™s report, which covered the period of April 3 through May 25, was prepared by the Dallas Fed.
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