The U.S. Federal Reserve has decided not to raise interest rates at its September Federal Open Market Committee meeting. The committee’s two-day meeting concluded with Fed officials voting to keep interest rates near zero—the U.S. central bank’s target range for the federal funds rate will stay at 0 to 1/4 percent.
The decision comes after much anticipation—it would have been the first time the Fed raised interest rates in nearly a decade. There was an economic case to be made for keeping rates low, as well as to begin gradually raising them. According to a survey of private economists by The Wall Street Journal, 52 percent of private economists believed a rate increase would not happen today.
The U.S. job market has been putting in solid numbers in recent months, data that Fed watchers believed might convince the Fed to hike rates. The counter-argument against raising rates, though, is that inflation remains very low.
At a press conference following the announcement, Federal Reserve chairwoman Janet Yellen seemed to hint at the hype leading up to the September meeting: "The significance of the first increase should not be overstated,” said Yellen. The chairwoman also remarked that the committee “judged it appropriate to wait for more evidence, including some further improvement in the labor market, to bolster its confidence that inflation will rise to 2 percent in the medium term.”