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Fed's beige book shows varied business strength

A suit store in Portland, ME.
A suit store in Portland, ME. Photo: Ben McCanna/Portland Portland Press Herald via Getty Images.

The Fed's latest beige book released Wednesday showed U.S. business owners remain largely bullish on the economy but are losing faith in the longer-term outlook.

What's happening: Business activity varied across the country, with the West and South more upbeat than the Midwest and Great Plains, which are U.S. manufacturing hubs.

  • A number of districts also reported that manufacturers have "reduced headcount because orders were soft," while others are cutting hours rather than laying off workers.
  • Employers continued to note the tight labor market and said finding quality workers was still a top problem. However, that has been a plus for workers as large companies are said to be offering larger pay packages and small companies are using benefits and bonuses to compete.

Go deeper: A crisis for retail jobs