AP Economics WriterWASHINGTON (AP) -- The already ailing U.S. economy has been battered by weak retail sales, canceled manufacturing orders and rising layoffs since the terrorist attacks, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday.
The Fed's new survey of business conditions found that no area of the nation had been spared from the economic jolt caused by the Sept. 11 attacks.
"The softness in consumer spending, manufacturing and construction activity is affecting the labor market, where layoffs and plant closings have been reported in many industries from financial services on the East Coast to media and advertising on the West Coast to auto parts in the central states," the Fed said.
The report, compiled from information gathered by the central bank's 12 regional banks, will be used by the Fed when it meets Nov. 6 to decide what to do about interest rates.
Most economists say the terrorist attacks have pushed the country into a recession and are predicting the central bank, which has already pushed the interest rates it controls to their lowest levels in nearly four decades, will cut rates for a 10th time at the November meeting.