Businesses still expect inflation to run 1.9% in the coming year, same as they did last month, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta's business inflation expectations survey, released Friday.

Inflation uncertainty remained 2.3%. Firms said costs rose 1.8% in the past year.

Survey participants placed unit sales, on average, 4.8% below normal, slightly better than in the prior survey.

"Respondents reported improved sales levels in December, with roughly 54 percent indicating their current sales levels are at or above normal compared to just 44 percent in November," according to the survey. "Profit margins also improved somewhat, with 50 percent of respondents indicating their profit margins are at or above normal, compared to just 41 percent in November."

The survey was conducted December 9-13 with 203 firms responding.

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