U.S. Fed will continue keeping interest rate at zero

The U.S. central bank has decided to continue with its aggressive measures to boost the sluggish U.S. economy.

After a two-day meeting in Washington, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday it would continue to buy $85 billion in U.S. Treasury debt and real estate-related securities each month as it attempts to spur job creation in the world’s largest economy. It also said it would keep its benchmark interest rate near zero percent.

At the same time, the central bank said it is prepared to reduce or increase the pace of its purchase of securities depending on whether U.S. economic fortunes improve, or falter again.

In a statement, the Federal Reserve said economic activity in the U.S. has been expanding at a moderate pace, and that hiring has shown some signs of improvement in recent months. But it also noted that unemployment remains high.

The U.S. recorded a 7.6 percent jobless rate in March, and analysts are predicting the figure will stay the same when the April jobs report is released Friday. About 11.7 million U.S. workers are unemployed, with millions more working at part-time jobs or filling positions they consider beneath their skill level.

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