U.S. economic growth accelerated slightly as summer ended and fall began, supported by modest hiring, an uptick in consumer spending and steady homebuilding, according to the Federal Reserve.

The Fed's "Beige Book" survey of economic conditions in its 12 regional bank districts found that growth was modest or moderate in eight districts, slight in three, and flat in the New York district. That's an improvement from its September survey, which found that growth weakened in two districts and was unchanged in two.

The mild improvement could encourage Fed policymakers to lift short-term interest rates by their December meeting.

Hiring was steady across most of the country, though there were layoffs at factories in the New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland and Richmond districts. Steady job gains lifted wages in most districts.