WASHINGTON — Economic activity rose modestly in September and October due to gains in the manufacturing sector, the Federal Reserve reported Wednesday in its “beige book” of economic activity.

Manufacturing firms reported new orders and production increases. Only the Philadelphia and Richmond districts said manufacturing activity softened. The districts reported minimal wage increases.

Reports said firms are expecting employee benefit costs to grow due to health care reform. However, a consulting firm in the Boston district reported rising revenues from health care reform business.

Firms also reported limited employment growth. Businesses are reluctant to add permanent workers amid current economic conditions, according to the report, which is based on information collected through Oct. 8.

Subscribe Now

Independent and authoritative analysis and perspective for the bond buying industry.

14-Day Free Trial

No credit card required. Complete access to articles, breaking news and industry data.