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US economic survey: Construction activity rose across Wis.

AP Economics Writer

VJS Construction Services Inc.'s Lyle La Forge (from left), Eric Vilkoski and Tim Verette spread concrete May 17 at a new PNC Bank location under construction along North Avenue in Milwaukee. The firm was renovating an existing building to make way for the bank. (Staff photo by Kevin Harnack)

WASHINGTON (AP) — A Federal Reserve survey released Wednesday found that the economy grew moderately in most regions of the country this spring and companies continued to hire.

It provided a more optimistic take on the economy than the picture that emerged from a spate of gloomy data released last week.

The report is based on anecdotal information from the Fed’s 12 regional banks and covers the period from April 3 to May 25.

Here are some highlights:

CHICAGO (includes Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and parts of Illinois and Indiana):

Manufacturing output and construction rose. Consumer spending on necessities increased, while spending on large items such as furniture, appliances and electronics decreased. Auto and steel manufacturing were sources of strength.

Steel factories were operating at their highest levels of capacity since the end of the recession.

MINNEAPOLIS (includes Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin and Michigan):

The economy grew at a modest pace. Several companies reported big job gains. Oil and gas exploration increased in North Dakota and Montana since the winter. Manufacturers reported problems with finding welders.

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