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March 11, 2005

Economic activity expanding moderately

WASHINGTON

The U.S. employment climate improved as shoppers rang up sales and factories boosted production last month, fresh signs that the economy is chugging ahead at a respectable pace.

That was the latest snapshot of economic activity presented in the Federal Reserve’s survey of business conditions around the country, released Wednesday.

“The economy has continued to expand at a moderate pace,’’ according to the survey, which is based on information collected on or before Feb. 28.

The survey also found that retail prices were “generally flat or up modestly.’’ Some companies — hit with higher prices for fuel, steel and other raw materials —were more inclined to pass along some of these costs to customers, the survey noted.

These indicators of inflation, jobs and other economic conditions will be discussed by Fed policy-makers when they meet next on March 22.

The Associated Press

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