-- First the Labor Department announced that while American workers were more productive at the end of last year, the gains in productivity slowed. The AP reports that could "signal that companies are ready to hire more workers."
During the last three months of the year, the U.S. economy picked up its pace of growth. The Commerce Department revised its previous estimate today and said the gross domestic product expanded at an annual rate of 3 percent, which exceeded the previous estimate of 2.8 percent and was better than the third quarter's 1.8 percent pace.
The AP reports:
"The growth estimate was revised up because consumers spent more than first thought, and businesses cut spending by much less.
The goal of the Federal Reserve's low interest rate policy is to juice the economic recovery. The low rates should make it easier for people to borrow money, which they'll hopefully spend; the increased demand for goods and services is then supposed to translate into more hiring.
That's what the Fed is banking on. It hopes low interest rates will help with its mandate of achieving maximum employment, but it also has another mandate: to keep prices stable.
"In many cases, those two conflict," says economist Joe Gagnon of the Peterson Institute for International Economics.