The economic expansion continued in all regions of the country, with most terming expansion as modest or moderate, according to the Beige Book released on Wednesday.

"Activity in the Boston, Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas and San Francisco Districts grew at a moderate pace, while Cleveland and St. Louis cited modest growth," the report says. "New York reported that economic growth picked up somewhat. Philadelphia and Richmond cited improving business conditions. The economy in Minneapolis grew at a solid pace and Kansas City's economy expanded at a faster pace."

Manufacturing picked up in most districts, with automotive and high-tech industries citing gains. Boston and St. Louis manufacturers reported mixed conditions and Chicago producers said growth "leveled off" after starting the year strong. Manufacturers were optimistic about short-term growth, but worried about rising fuel prices.

In terms of labor, hiring was flat or increased modestly. "Difficulty finding qualified workers, especially for high-skilled positions, was frequently reported," according to the report.

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