Fed survey: Winter storms holding back economy Fed survey: Winter storms holding back economy Snow starts to cover Interstate 95 in Henrico County, Va., Monday, March 3, 2014 . (AP Photo/Richmond Times-Dispatch, James H. Wallace) MARTIN CRUTSINGER| AP Economics Writer March 05, 2014 Comments WASHINGTON (AP) — A Federal Reserve survey shows severe winter weather held back economic growth in much of the nation from January through early February. Even so, conditions improved in most U.S. regions, helped by slight gains in areas such as employment and commercial real estate. Eight of the Fed’s 12 regions reported improved activity, according to the Beige Book survey released Wednesday. The improvement was depicted as “modest to moderate.” New York and Philadelphia, two regions hard hit by winter storms, reported a dip in activity attributed to the weather. Retail sales, including auto purchases, were depressed. So was manufacturing. Factories reported power outages and delayed deliveries of supplies. The Beige Book is based on anecdotal reports from businesses and will be considered with other data when the Fed meets March 18-19.