The economy expanded or improved "modestly" across the country from October to mid-November as consumer spending rose in a majority of Federal Reserve districts, the central bank said Wednesday.

Eight regions "indicated some pickup in activity or improvement in conditions," while the other four said conditions were little changed or mixed, the Fed said Wednesday in its Beige Book business survey, published two weeks before officials meet to set monetary policy. The labor and commercial real estate markets remained "weak," the report said.

Commercial real estate remained a problem area for the economy, with markets and construction "depicted as very weak and, in many cases, deteriorating," the Fed said.

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