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Fed Officials Debate When to Raise Interest Rates

FILE - The Federal Reserve headquarters in Washington, D.C.

Top officials of the U.S. central bank have been debating how soon to raise interest rates, as the economy continues recovering from the recession.

Federal Reserve leaders looked at the improving job market and other issues at their most recent meeting at the end of July. Notes from that gathering were published Wednesday.

Officials kept the key interest rate at the record-low level where it was set several years ago to bolster faltering growth and fight high unemployment.

Experts say as the economy no longer needs help, rates must eventually rise to more normal levels or they could over-stimulate the economy and spark inflation.

While the job market is mostly getting better, Fed officials remain concerned about the number of people who can find only part-time work, or who have been jobless for a long period of time.