The Federal Reserve's new report on U.S. economic activity in December and early January showed more signs of improvement across the nation.
But if you're out of work in the Western states, the Fed's report, released Wednesday, won't provide any solace: Many employers in the region expect to do little if any hiring in 2010, even if sales rise.
The Fed's so-called beige book report was relatively upbeat on the nation's economy as a whole, noting that 10 of the central bank's 12 geographic districts reported "some increased activity or improvement in conditions." The two exceptions -- the Philadelphia and Richmond, Va., districts -- reported "mixed conditions."
The beige book report for October and November had counted eight districts reporting better economic conditions.
Some of the highlights from the report's chapter on the Western region, which encompasses California as well as Alaska, Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Nevada, Oregon, Utah and Washington: