Latest Fed 'Beige Book' survey shows the economy mending, slowly

Two key sectors of the economy -- manufacturing and housing -- are helping to lead the nation out of its economic doldrums, continuing a pattern of improvement that emerged during the summer, according to the latest survey of economic activity compiled by the Federal Reserve and released Wednesday.

Known as the Beige Book, the survey said reports of increases in economic activity were nearly universal across the central bank's 12 districts. But "virtually every reference to improvement was qualified as either small or scattered," it said.