WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta’s monthly survey released Wednesday showed businesses in the sixth district lowered their inflation expectations for 2012 to 1.8% compared to the April survey when they projected a 2.1% rise.

In addition, the survey said businesses continue to anticipate “little or only moderate” upward pressure coming from labor costs over the year. “Inflation uncertainty rose from 2.7% in April to 2.9% in May,” the Atlanta Fed said.

Firms reported that unit costs had risen 1.6% on an annual basis, compared to a 1.9% year-over-year increase in April.

The survey was conducted May 14-18 with 164 firms responding to questions about their business conditions, inflation outlook and potential pricing pressures.

The survey said businesses are still operating in an environment of below-normal sales and depressed margins.

“Looking forward, firms continue to anticipate little or only moderate upward pressure coming from input costs over the coming 12 months,” it said.

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