The Federal Reserve today published its Beige Book, which consists of reports from 12 Federal Reserve Districts, and uses anecdotal information to piece together an overview of the state of the U.S. economy.

Each district in the latest report suggested that economic activity has grown at a modest or moderate rate, with many regions (including New York and Philadelphia) on the rebound from impairments brought on by Hurricane Sandy.

In terms of industries, retail experienced a stronger holiday season this past December than in 2011, but the report suggests the month would have been stronger without the threat of the fiscal cliff. Labor markets in the IT and energy industries were also on shaky ground due to the cliff, as possible sequestration caused increased uncertainty in the U.S. defense sector. 

The Beige Book is released eight times each year. Its next publication date is set for March 6.