The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday (Jan. 29) it would keep interest rates unchanged as a resilient labor market holds strong and inflation remains well below the central bank’s ideal level.
As reported by The Hill, the Federal Open Markets Committee (FOMC), the Fed’s rate-setting panel, said in a Wednesday statement that it will maintain the baseline interest rate for overnight bank loans at 1.5% to 1.75%.
The widely expected decision to keep rates steady comes after Fed officials closed out a turbulent 2019 with confidence in the U.S. economy’s outlook for 2020.
Fed Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters following the FOMC’s December meeting, his most recent public remarks, that the bank would likely not move rates without a significant economic shift. The Fed held rates steady in December after cuts at each of the prior three meetings.
A surge of hiring, record holiday sales and a late stock market rally at the end of 2019 helped temper fears of a recession that dominated the summer. While analysts have forecast a global economic slowdown in 2020, the U.S. economy is expected to expand at a stable pace and keep unemployment close to 50-year lows.
“Job gains have been solid, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has remained low,” the FOMC said in its Wednesday statement. “Although household spending has been rising at a moderate pace, business fixed investment and exports remain weak.”
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