U.S. economic activity "contracted sharply" nationwide amid the lockdowns imposed by the coronavirus pandemic, the Federal Reserve (Fed) said Wednesday.
Businesses across all regions "reported highly uncertain outlooks... with most expecting conditions to worsen in the next several months."
The "beige book" report showed the early signs of the carnage spreading through the U.S. economy as factories, shops and restaurants were forced to shut down nationwide.
The Fed's latest temperature check of businesses around the country was completed over the month of March, during which time the United States went from worrying about risks posed by the coronavirus outbreak to most of the country being under some form of stay-at-home order and millions losing their jobs.
"The hardest-hit industries - because of social distancing measures and mandated closures - were leisure and hospitality, and retail aside from essential goods," the Fed said in the report in which the coronavirus or COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus, was mentioned 93 times.
"All Districts reported highly uncertain outlooks among business contacts, with most expecting conditions to worsen in the next several months," the central bank said.
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