WASHINGTON—The economy continued to expand into early October despite some uncertainty generated by the coming presidential election, a Federal Reserve report said Wednesday, indicating more of the slow growth that could leave the central bank on track to raise interest rates late this year.
The Fed’s latest report on regional economic conditions, known as the beige book, said most districts reported modest or moderate growth amid tight labor markets and steady wage gains. The survey collected anecdotal information on economic activity from late August through early October from 12 district banks.
“Outlooks are positive, although contacts in several sectors cite the upcoming presidential election as a source of near-term uncertainty, delaying some business decisions,” the Fed’s Boston district said in the report.
The beige book report comes two weeks before Fed officials gather for their Nov. 1-2 meeting. Most economists expect policy makers to hold off on any move until the final month of the year—a Wall Street Journal survey of economists found 81.4% believed the Fed will raise rates at its Dec. 13-14 meeting.
The central bank last increased its benchmark rate in December 2015. Since then, officials have held steady amid slow growth and an uncertain outlook. Three Fed officials voted to raise rates in September, though the majority prevailed against any move.
“There isn’t this tremendous urgency to act on monetary policy right now,” New York Fed President William Dudley said last week. “It’s not like if we wait a meeting or don’t wait a meeting that it has huge consequences for the trajectory of the economy.”