The Federal Reserve must ensure the U.S. job market is in full health before it begins to ease its aggressive bond-purchasing program, its top officials said at the Fed's latest policy meeting. This afternoon, the central bank released the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting of June 18 and 19.
In that session, the officials cited a moderate pace of economic expansion, but said it was coupled with an unemployment rate that remains high.
Those Chinese figures helped Asian markets to take a big tumble today, as did yesterday's comments by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. He said the Fed will likely begin slowing down its economic stimulus later this year. The Fed's massive bond buying program - which is a major part of that stimulus - is seen as a big reason behind recent rallies in the financial market.
The Federal Reserve will continue its program of purchasing $85 billion in securities and will leave the target interest rate for federal funds untouched to support the U.S. economy, the U.S. central bank said in a policy update issued Wednesday afternoon.
Here's a summary of the state of the U.S. economy from the Fed, which concluded two days of meetings today: