Federal Reserve policy makers raised their assessment of the economy as the labor market gathers strength and refrained from new actions to lower borrowing costs.
“Labor market conditions have improved further; the unemployment rate has declined notably in recent months but remains elevated,” the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement at the conclusion of a meeting today in Washington. It said “strains in global financial markets have eased, though they continue to pose significant downside risks to the economic outlook.”
Rising oil has pushed the national average cost of gasoline up to $3.81 a gallon, from $3.28 at the start of the year, according to the American Automobile Association.
Still, most Fed policy makers in January forecast the economy would grow 2.2 percent to 2.7 percent in 2012 and the unemployment rate would end the year at 8.2 percent to 8.5 percent. By the end of 2014, the FOMC expects a jobless rate of 6.7 percent to 7.6 percent, still above their goal for maximum employment of 5.2 percent to 6 percent.