Fed Officials Slightly More Upbeat On Economy

WASHINGTON (AP) – Federal Reserve officials were slightly more optimistic last month about economic growth for this year than they were in November, reflecting expected gains in consumer and business spending from tax cuts.

Fed officials said in an updated forecast released Wednesday that they think the economy will grow between 3.4 percent and 3.9 percent this year. That’s an upward revision from their November forecast, which predicted gross domestic product will grow 3 percent to 3.6 percent.

The latest outlook foresees little improvement in the unemployment rate. The central bank predicts that the rate, now at 9 percent, will end the year at that level or possibly dip to 8.8 percent.

The Fed doesn’t expect the slightly faster growth to trigger high inflation. Its latest forecast is for prices to rise 1.3 percent to 1.7 percent. That’s only slightly more than its…

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