The U.S. economy showed signs of progress but continued to struggle amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, according to a report from the Federal Reserve.
"Economic activity increased among most districts, but gains were generally modest and activity remained well below levels prior to the COVID-19 pandemic," the central bank said in its Beige Book survey released Wednesday. "Continued uncertainty and volatility related to the pandemic, and its negative effect on consumer and business activity, was a theme echoed across the country."
Since March, the spread of the coronavirus across the U.S. has severely reduced demand, disrupted supply chains and pushed unemployment as high as 14.7% in April. The labor market has since shown a strong comeback, but joblessness was still above 10% in July.
ADP Research Institute data released earlier Wednesday estimated private sector payrolls increased 428,000 in August, falling well short of the 1 million-plus expected by economists.
Gains in the labor market were uneven, the report showed.
"Some districts also reported slowing job growth and increased hiring volatility, particularly in service industries, with rising instances of furloughed workers being laid off permanently as demand remained soft," it said.