Federal Reserve Holds Off on Raising Interest Rates

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The Federal Reserve declined to raise its benchmark federal funds rate on Thursday, signaling that it does not yet believe the U.S. economy has recovered sufficiently from the housing crash to withstand a light tap on the brakes, NBC News reported. 

The Fed's Open Market Committee announced the decision at the conclusion of a two-day meeting in Washington to assess the state of the nation's economy. Fed Chairman Janet Yellin was to discuss the decision shortly afterward at a news conference.

Fed officials anticipate the unemployment rate falling from its current 5.1 percent to a median of 4.8 percent next year, The Associated Press reported. 

The rate has been in the zero to 0.25 percent range since Dec. 16, 2008, when the committee cut it to help the U.S. economy pull out of a steep recession. 

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