Fed maintains pace of bond-buying stimulus program
WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The Federal Reserve voted 9-1 on Wednesday to continue monthly asset purchases of $85 billion a month, citing an elevated unemployment rate and saying Washington's economic policies are still holding back growth. The central bank's decision to stand pat was widely expected. Although the Fed again characterized U.S. growth as "moderate" and said the labor market has shown "some further improvement," the central bank reiterated that it wants to see unemployment fall toward 6.5% from the current rate of 7.2%. Inflation, meanwhile, is still below the bank's 2% target but the Fed expects the rate will eventually move higher. As part of its reasoning to stick to its current policy, the Fed for the first time in awhile referred to evidence that the resurgent housing sector has "slowed somewhat." The Fed said it plans to "await more evidence that progress will be sustained before adjusting the pace of is purchases."