"The availability of jobs ... is somewhat encouraging," said Marty Smith, community development research adviser for the bank.
"But, overall, the survey indicates that there continues to be significant challenges for these households and the organizations that serve them," Smith said.
About 23 percent of agencies reported that clients had seen employment opportunities rise in the fourth quarter, while 20 percent said job prospects were decreasing. About 32 percent saw employment opportunities increasing in the first three months of 2012.
Yet, one respondent said that it remained difficult for low- and moderate-income households to find employment with a living wage - especially for families with children, the Philadelphia Fed reported.
One recommendation to increase job availability was to obtain funding to establish training centers in low- and moderate-income neighborhoods. The training programs would come with guaranteed job placement.
On the down side, the availability of affordable housing, financial well-being and access to credit all deteriorated as the new year approached, the report showed.
The service providers believe that "not in my back yard" sentiments impede construction of new affordable housing.
There is a shortage of funding sources, for affordable housing, they said, meaning that the competition for available money is intense. Development costs are also high.
When asked to name the factors that impede clients' access to credit, service providers listed lack of financial knowledge first, followed by underwriting standards and credit ratings, lack of cash flow and lack of trust in banks.
Financial education is considered one of the biggest issues service providers will have to deal with during 2012, as well as foreclosures.
As a result of last week's $25 billion settlement of a national investigation of foreclosure processing, many experts are anticipating a rise in sheriff's sales and bank repossessions.
Service providers are under pressure as demand for what they offer increases but funding sources are cut at the federal and state levels, they say.
Contact real estate writer Alan J. Heavens at 215-854-2472, email@example.com or @alheavens at Twitter.