WASHINGTON- Federal Reserve officials saw “little or no growth” in four of their 12 regional districts and only modest growth in the others in recent weeks as a rapidly spreading health crisis and ongoing recession continued to devastate some US businesses and families even as many others thrive.
In the US central bank’s latest “Beige Book” compendium of anecdotes from businesses across the country, Fed officials seemed to signal that the winter slowdown they’ve feared would follow a new coronavirus outbreak is taking root.
Earlier on Wednesday, Fed Chair Jerome Powell repeated his plea for Congress to provide more aid to “get us through the winter” and suppor t businesses and households until a vaccine allows for a broader resumption of commerce. Initial inoculations may begin in the United States this month.
Members of Congress and the Trump administration have resumed discussions over a possible aid package, but with no guarantee that a longstanding impasse will be broken during President Donald Trump’s final weeks in office.
Meanwhile, the pandemic is spreading at a rate of a million new cases a week and around 1,500 deaths a day.
In some places that has led officials to impose new restrictions on businesses and social gatherings. In others, households have pulled back on their own.