The U.S. Federal Reserve left interest rates unchanged at the conclusion of its two-day June Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. In the months since the FOMC’s last meeting in April, there was some speculation that the Fed might consider raising rates at the June meeting. That sentiment changed after May’s disappointing jobs report, and economists and analysts came to expect that the Fed would not raise interest rates until July.
In a statement explaining its decision, the FOMC focused on jobs: “The pace of improvement in the labor market has slowed while growth in economic activity appears to have picked up,” and that “although the unemployment rate has declined, job gains have diminished.”
The Fed has yet to raise rates in 2016. It raised interest rates for the first time in nearly a decade last December—the so-called “lift-off”—when the target range for the federal funds rate moved from between 0 percent and 0.25 percent to between 0.25 percent and 0.50 percent.
In a speech in Philadelphia last week, Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen voiced concerns about the upcoming Brexit vote and the U.S.’s slow productivity growth. The FOMC statement echoed her sentiments that rates will rise gradually, but also stated that “the federal funds rate is likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run.”