The quick recap — yep, things are getting better, and no, not very quickly. And all that snow in February didn’t help things. The coming unemployment report is expected to show the rate rising to 9.8 percent.
From the link:
Of the Fed’s 12 regions surveyed, nine showed improvement. The Richmond district, which includes Maryland, Virginia and the Carolinas, was hurt the most by the bad winter. That region reportedeconomic activity had “slackened or remained soft across most sectors” because of the weather.
The economic setbacks from the weather come at a fragile time: The economy is struggling to recover from the worst and longest recession since the 1930s.
After a big growth spurt at the end of 2009, many economists believe the recovery lost steam in the first three months of this year. They predict it will grow at a pace of around 3 percent from January to March. That won’t be fast enough to drive down the unemployment rate, now at 9.7 percent.
The jobs market “remained soft throughout the nation,” the Fed reported.
Update 3/7/10 — If you feel the urge, or just want, to dig much deeper into this Beige Book report, hit this link for a 538 post full of charts and analysis.