Make us your home page
Instagram

Federal Reserve to keep interest rates near zero for extended period

WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve stood by its policy of keeping interest rates at rock-bottom levels for the foreseeable future at its policymaking meeting Tuesday, even as central bank officials said that the labor market is stabilizing.

The Federal Open Market Committee left its target for short-term interest rates unchanged near zero, where it has been for the past 15 months. Fed officials also repeated language from previous statements that rates are likely to remain "exceptionally low" for an "extended period," which they have said means at least six more months.

On balance, the Fed's assessment of the economy seemed slightly better than it had been. The U.S. unemployment rate has edged down in recent months to 9.7 percent, and forecasters expect the nation to have added jobs in March. That helps explain why the officials said that the job market is stabilizing, in contrast to their January meeting, when they said that "deterioration in the labor market is abating."

Similarly, the officials noted in a statement released Tuesday afternoon that "business spending on equipment and software has risen significantly," an upgrade from January when they said that such spending "appears to be picking up."

But the economic assessment was not universally sunny. Fed leaders noted that investment in commercial real estate is declining, housing starts have been "flat at a depressed level," and employers have been slow to hire.

There was no sign that this improved assessment will change the direction of Fed policy any time soon. With unemployment high and inflation appearing to be a decent threat, most Fed leaders are in no hurry to raise rates. But the statement did affirm the Fed's intent to unwind some of the more exceptional programs it put in place to support economy during its deep decline last year; the purchases of $1.25 trillion in mortgage-backed securities, most notably, will conclude at the end of March.

Federal Reserve to keep interest rates near zero for extended period 03/16/10 [Last modified: Monday, March 22, 2010 4:39pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Federal agencies demand records from SeaWorld theme park

    Tourism

    ORLANDO — Two federal agencies are reportedly demanding financial records from SeaWorld.

    Killer whales Ikaika and Corky participate in behaviors commonly done in the wild during SeaWorld's Killer Whale educational presentation in this photo from Jan. 9. SeaWorld has been subpoenaed by two federal agencies for comments that executives and the company made in August 2014 about the impact from the "Blackfish" documentary. 
[Nelvin C. Cepeda/San Diego Union-Tribune/TNS]
  2. Legalized medical marijuana signed into law by Rick Scott

    State Roundup

    TALLAHASSEE — Gov. Rick Scott on Friday signed into law a broader medical marijuana system for the state, following through on a promise he made earlier this month.

    Gov. Rick Scott signed legislation on Friday that legalizes medical marijuana in Florida.
  3. Line of moms welcome Once Upon A Child to Carrollwood

    Business

    CARROLLWOOD — Strollers of all shapes and sizes are lined up in front of the store, and inside, there are racks of children's clothing in every color of the rainbow.

    At Once Upon A Child, you often as many baby strollers outside as you find baby furniture and accessories. It recently opened this location in Carrollwood. Photo by Danielle Hauser
  4. Pastries N Chaat brings North India cuisine to North Tampa

    Business

    TAMPA — Pastries N Chaat, a new restaurant offering Indian street food, opened this week near the University of South Florida.

    The menu at Pastries N Chaat includes a large variety of Biriyani, an entree owners say is beloved by millions. Photo courtesy of Pastries N Chaat.
  5. 'Garbage juice' seen as threat to drinking water in Florida Panhandle county

    Water

    To Waste Management, the nation's largest handler of garbage, the liquid that winds up at the bottom of a landfill is called "leachate," and it can safely be disposed of in a well that's 4,200 feet deep.

    Three samples that were displayed by Jackson County NAACP President Ronstance Pittman at a public meeting on Waste Management's deep well injection proposal. The sample on the left is full of leachate from the Jackson County landfill, the stuff that would be injected into the well. The sample on the right shows leachate after it's been treated at a wastewater treatment plant. The one in the middle is tap water.