Top officials of the U.S. central bank have decided to maintain their efforts to stimulate the economy as it recovers from the worst recession in decades.
The U.S. Federal Reserve has been buying $85 billion a month in securities in an effort to reduce long-term interest rates. Lower rates make it easier for companies to buy new equipment and for families to buy new homes.
Many economists had been predicting that the Fed would cut back those purchases.
The U.S. economy has been improving, but job growth has been slow in recent months, and some workers have given up their search for employment. The country's jobless rate has fallen to 7.3 percent. While that is the lowest since late 2008, it is still well above the historical norm of less than 6 percent
Fed officials concluded the economy still needs support.
Fed officials have also been trying to bolster economic growth by pushing short-term interest rates nearly to zero. They have said they will keep short-term rates ultra low for the time being.
The Fed has to strike a careful balance in stimulus efforts. If they cut back too soon, the world's largest economy could fall back into recession. If they over-stimulate the economy, they raise the risk that inflation could cause serious problems.