The Federal Reserve delivered the widely expected increase in its benchmark interest rate on Wednesday (March 15), and said the domestic economy remained on a path of slow and steady growth.

As reported by the New York Times, the decision raises the Fed’s benchmark rate to a range between 0.75% and 1%.

In a statement after a two-day meeting of its policy-making committee, the Fed said that the United States economy continued to chug along, expanding at a “moderate pace.” Employers are hiring, consumers are spending and businesses — the laggards in recent months — are starting to spend a little more, too.

The Fed also highlighted a recent increase in inflation after a long period of sluggishness. Prices are now rising at roughly the 2% annual pace that the Fed regards as optimal. The Fed, which had made faster inflation a central objective, said on Wednesday that it was now focused on stabilizing inflation.

It is the first time in recent years that the Fed’s forecasts have moved in the direction of tightening, a change in tune that parallels the Fed’s confident tone and its decision to raise rates on Wednesday.

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