Originally published on Wed December 12, 2012 12:56 pm
By Jacob Goldstein
Credit Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty Images
The leaders of the Federal Reserve just did something that sounds boring but is actually a big deal: They promised to keep short-term interest rates at zero at least until the unemployment rate falls below 6.5 percent, or inflation rises to over 2.5 percent.
It's clear on its face why this sounds boring. It takes a little doing to explain why it's a big deal.
Saying it is concerned that the economy won't be strong enough in coming months to keep adding jobs to the labor market, the Federal Reserve announced this afternoon that is increasing its efforts to give the economy a boost.
And in an unusually specific statement from the central bank, its policymakers said they expect to keep a key short-term interest rate at or near zero percent "as long as the unemployment rate remains above 6.5 percent."
In a statement on Monday, the U.S. Treasury Department said it will launch an underwritten public offering to sell its remaining 234,169,156 common stock shares in insurer American International Group Inc., better known as AIG.
The U.S. government bought the controlling stake in the company as part of the $182 billion bank bailout in 2008. The sale would bring an end to the government's run as the company's largest shareholder, which represented a 16-percent ownership in the company.