(Reuters) - The Federal Reserve will be looking at data in coming months and into next year to gauge whether the recovery is strong enough to begin withdrawing its massive bond-buying stimulus, a top Fed official said on Friday.
"We are going to keep watching the data, to see whether we are seeing a significant improvement in the labor market, see whether we are seeing self-sustaining momentum in the economy," John Williams, president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank, told a group of bankers and businesspeople in Los Angeles.
Unemployment is still far too high and inflation is lower than the Fed's 2-percent target, he said.
"We still have a ways to go," he said, but "we are making progress." The Fed should not withdraw stimulus until the economy is able to keep growing without it, he said.
Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Sandra Maler