The New England economy continues to grow at moderate pace, according to the latest survey of businesses by the Federal Reserve.
The report, known as the “Beige Book,” found that companies generally are hiring cautiously, in part because of worries about the future of the US economy, which has been struggling to recover from the last recession.
Half of firms reported no change in the size of their workforces, while the other half reported slow growth of between 2 percent to 5 percent during the previous year. No companies reported layoffs.
“Employment growth is weak as many firms report wanting to wait for more demand before hiring,” the Fed reported.
The report, which comes out eight times a years, providing anecdotal information to policy makers in advance of the central bank’s rate setting meetings. Policy makers begin a two-day meeting July 31.
That latest survey provides more evidence that the region’s economy is growing slowly, but still doing better than some other parts of the country..
Overall, the Fed reported that New England was one of five of the 12 Federal Reserve regions where growth continued at a moderate pace. Other regions experienced experienced slower expansions during the past several weeks.
Locally, the report found that home sales in Greater Boston increased, while inventory levels fell. Rents also continued to rise in the area, helping to persuade some people to buy.
Meanwhile, commercial real estate professionals, particularly in the Boston market, seemed optimistic about financing available for some projects, noting the market continues to improve slowly. But commercial real estate firms reported trouble attracting tenants for lower-quality office space in the Boston area.
Business services and manufacturing grew slowly, the Fed reported. Retail sales in the region remained flat. Consumers appear to be spending money on adult clothing and shoes, but holding off on purchases of furniture and electronics, the Federal Reserve found.