The US economy continued to grow at a "moderate" pace from late November through the end of 2013, with some regions of the country expecting an improvement in growth, the Federal Reserve (Fed) said Wednesday. In its Beige Book survey, the U.S. central bank said two-thirds of the 12 Fed districts reported increases in hiring, "with few instances of rapid growth but very few reports of staff cuts or plant closings." "The economic outlook is positive in most districts, with some reports citing expectations for 'more of the same' and some expecting a pick-up in growth," the report said. The Fed characterized growth in nine of its 12 districts as moderate, three as modest, and one as steady. Retail sales were up in nine Fed regions, and all 12 noted year-over-year increases in manufacturing activity. Prices were stable in half of the districts and saw small increases in the remainder. The growth findings were broadly in line with economic data including consumer spending and industrial production that have indicated an accumulation of strength in the economy late last year. The reports of increased hiring support views that a sharp slowdown in job growth in December was the result of cold weather during the month.