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New England economy growing moderately, according to Fed

New England’s economy continued to expand and businesses are “optimistic” about future growth -- but not optimistic enough to significantly increase hiring, according to report released Wednesday by the Federal Reserve.

The report, called the Beige Book, summarizes economic activity based on anecdotal information collected from businesses in each of the 12 districts served by Federal Reserve banks. It is issued eight times per year in advance of the Fed’s policy-making meetings.

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Fed officials next meet June 17 and 18.

The Fed report found that the economy is expanding across the country, with most regions, including New England, reporting moderate growth. Few firms here, however, reported increased hiring

New England’s manufacturing sector was particularly strong, with nearly all that were surveyed reporting increases sales from a year ago, according to the Fed. Technology companies also reported strong business activity, with revenues growing as much as 20 percent from a year ago.

Performance varied widely among retailers, with some experiencing sales increases, others, declines. The Boston area housing market continued to be constrained by low inventories, which real estate agents blamed for a decline in sales.

Commercial real estate activity was largely stable, the Fed reported, although demand for space in the Seaport District, Back Bay, and Kendall Square remained very strong.

“Some investors are reportedly starting to balk at Boston’s high commercial real estate prices, but overall investor interest in the city remains very high,” the report said.

Jack Newsham can be reached at jack.newsham@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @TheNewsHam.
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