WASHINGTON (AP) — A Federal Reserve survey of business conditions across the United States has found that economic activity was expanding at a modest pace in February.

The Fed survey released Wednesday shows that the central bank's business contacts were expressing optimism last month about a stronger rebound as more COVID-19 vaccines are distributed.

Reports on consumer spending and auto sales were mixed, while overall manufacturing showed moderate gains despite supply-side constraints, according to the Fed survey.

The report, known as the beige book, is based on surveys conducted by the Fed's 12 regional banks. It will form the basis for discussions when central bank officials meet on March 16-17 to mull their future moves on monetary policy.

The expectation is that the Fed will keep its benchmark short-term rate at a record low of zero to 0.25%. The central bank is also expected to again signal that rates will not rise for the foreseeable future and the current pace of $120 billion per month in bond purchases will also continue.