Federal Reserve opts to leave interest rates unchanged

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The Federal Reserve voted Thursday to keep rates where they are, for now.

The central bank announced the range for its benchmark interest rate will remain fixed between 2 and 2.2 percent.

In September, the Fed raised rates by 25 basis points, the largest rate hike since 2008. The Fed said then interest rates could move closer to "neutral," which could support full employment and inflation running at its 2 percent goal.

The central bank said the September update signaled that one more interest rate increase could occur this year.

"Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has declined," the Federal Open Market Committee said in a statement. "Household spending has continued to grow strongly, while growth of business fixed investment has moderated from its rapid pace earlier in the year.

"The Committee expects that further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will be consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee's symmetric 2 percent objective over the medium term."

The Fed's announcement was the first Thursday announcement in three years.

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