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Fed Economic Report Shows Growth Improvement

Willard/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- There were more signs of economic growth last December, according to the Federal Reserve's Beige Book, which examines business expansion in a dozen banking districts.

The Fed reported that nine of the districts showed moderate growth last month while two displayed modest expansion and one "held steady."

In comparison, November's Beige Book showed moderate growth in seven districts.  Chicago and Atlanta, which were only in the modest growth category at the time, jumped to the moderate list last month.

There was also another sign that things may finally be picking up.  Eight of the districts revealed hiring gains in December, which suggests that the Labor Department's less-than-impressive jobs report from last month might have been an aberration.

The Beige Book also noted increases in manufacturing and spending in December.

All this will come into play when the Fed meets again at the end of January to decide whether to pull back on stimulus programs that include record low interest rates and massive bond buying, both of which have spurred Wall Street to record highs although these programs can lead to inflation.

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ABC News Radio