Fed Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged

PHOTO:Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference following a Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington, Sept. 17, 2015. PlayBloomberg/Getty Images
WATCH Federal Reserve Leaves Interest Rates Unchanged

After a two-day meeting, the Federal Reserve announced that it is leaving interest rates unchanged.

The Federal Reserve hasn't raised interest rates since 2006. The Federal Open Market Committee said in its policy statement today that it anticipates raising rates when it sees further improvement in the labor market and when inflation moves back to 2 percent. The committee said U.S. economic activity is expanding at a "moderate pace."

The nation's unemployment rate fell slightly to 5.1 percent in August, the Labor Department reported earlier this month, while the number of unemployed people fell slightly to 8 million. The number of nonfarm payroll jobs increased by a meager 173,000 last month.

Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellen said during a press conference today that due to "heightened uncertainties abroad and the slightly softer" expected path for inflation, the committee will wait for further economic evidence before making a move in rates.

"I do not want to overplay the implications of these recent developments, which have not fundamentally altered our outlook," Yellen said. "The economy has been performing well and we expect it to continue to do so."

The Federal Reserve has left short-term interest rates near zero since December 2008.

The Federal Reserve is keeping the federal funds rate, which influences borrowing costs for banks, in the target range of zero to a quarter percent. The central bank's decision can affect everything from mortgage rates to how much people save in the bank.

The Fed said in its statement today, "Recent global economic and financial developments may restrain economic activity somewhat and are likely to put further downward pressure on inflation in the near term."

Richmond Fed President Jeffrey Lacker was the lone dissenter, calling for a quarter-point rate hike.

PHOTO: A chart shows the moment the Federal Reserve released a policy statement, Sept. 17, 2015, that indicated interest rates will remain unchanged. Bloomberg
A chart shows the moment the Federal Reserve released a policy statement, Sept. 17, 2015, that indicated interest rates will remain unchanged.