WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. economy improved in every region of the country this spring, but higher oil prices remain a concern, according to a survey released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve.
Factories were busier, consumers spent more and companies boosted hiring in all 12 of the regions surveyed by the Fed.
But the report also found that high energy prices are putting pressure on businesses to raise their prices. And workers are seeing limited, if any, pay increases because they lack leverage in market where jobs are still hard to find. .
Still, scant wage gains are a major reason Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says inflation won't spread through the economy this year. That's limiting businesses ability to raise prices, even though many companies are facing higher costs for raw materials.
The Fed's report found that manufacturers are having an easier time increasing their prices to other businesses. But retailers have been more limited, fearing they might lose customers.