Members of the Federal Reserve board met Tuesday in the Fed's Washington,… (Andrew Harrer / Bloomberg )
Reporting from Washington — Federal Reserve officials issued a more favorable assessment of the economy but refrained from taking any new action to add to or pull back from their latest campaign to spur growth.
Emerging from a meeting Tuesday, policymakers at the central bank left short-term interest rates near zero and stuck to their pledge made in January that they would keep rates at rock-bottom levels at least until late 2014.
Fed officials were expected to stand pat on their monetary policy as they wait for a clearer picture of the economy. Since their last policy meeting on Jan. 25, the U.S. has shown signs of a strengthening economy.
The Fed statement acknowledged that labor market conditions have improved, noting in particular the sharp decline in the unemployment rate in recent months, but said that the jobless rate remains “elevated.”
The statement also acknowledged the recent positive signs in Europe’s debt crisis, saying that “strains in global financial markets have eased,” although the Fed said that “they continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook.”
Even so, Fed officials said they expected “moderate” economic growth over the coming quarters.
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