FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Board building on Constitution Avenue is pictured in Washington, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. companies have been battered by the fallout from the novel coronavirus outbreak as economic activity “contracted sharply and abruptly across all regions,” a report by the Federal Reserve released on Wednesday showed.

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 novel 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, were 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.

Reporting by Lindsay Dunsmuir; Editing by Jonathan Oatis

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