The Federal Reserve's latest snapshot on this region's economy reports moderate gains in most sectors and continued weakness in a number of labor market indicators.
The so-called Beige Book report on the Richmond district, which includes the Carolinas, reflects the incremental economic improvements being made across the Fed's other 12 regions.
Manufacturing activity continued to pick up while employment growth remained anemic.
Job cuts were reported at many retail businesses.
Retail sales were flat, as many retailers said jobless customers continue to reign in spending.
Banking activity was described as weak.
Residential real estate markets continued to strengthen.
"In a striking change from recent months, several contacts noted a pickup in the high end of the market," Fed analysts wrote.