(MENAFN - AFP) US economic growth has held steady at a "modest to moderate" pace since July, with activity steady or gaining in most sectors, the Federal Reserve's Beige Book review said Wednesday.
In a report likely to support a move toward lower stimulus spending by the Fed, most of its 12 regions reported that consumer spending, travel, manufacturing and demand for services had risen since the previous survey.
Job creation was also steady or better, and inflation was under control.
"For most occupations and industries, hiring held steady or increased modestly relative to the prior reporting period," it said.
"Upward price pressures remained subdued, and prices increased slightly during the reporting period. Wage pressures continued to be modest overall."
Showing a steady, continuing improvement in the economy, the survey could contribute to a possible decision by the Fed's policy board, the Federal Open Market Committee, to begin cutting back on its stimulus program at its next meeting, on September 17-18.
The Fed has been pointing to a drawdown of its 85 billion a month bond-buying stimulus operation since May, saying reducing the program was contingent on the economy continuing to improve broadly.
Most of the signs in the Beige Book survey were positive: reports from eight of the 12 districts characterized the pace of economic activity as "moderate", while the other four called it "modest" or, in one, the Chicago region, "improved".
Despite a rise in interest rates, residential real estate activity was growing still, and non-residential property business also "gained overall".
Consumer spending was growing steadily but slowly across the regions, driven in part by demand for cars, home furnishings and home improvement goods.
However, it said, consumers appear to remain cautious.
"Reports from several Districts indicated that consumers remained cautious in their purchases and highly price-sensitive," with more shopping being done in discount outlets.
Ongoing federal spending cutbacks were not having much impact overall on the economy, with the exception of the hospitality business, with several regions noting a decline in travel by government officials.
Still, there were signs of weakness. With the exception of mortgage financing for home purchases, loan growth slowed from the previous reporting period, and was flat in a number of areas. In one region, Kansas City, lending had fallen.
In addition, farm production in some areas was hit by continuing drought; in others, mainly in the southeast, high rainfall had delayed planting.