The U.S. Federal Reserve on Wednesday downwardly revised its projection of the country's economic outlook and reaffirmed openness to further stimulating policy if needed.
The economy is expected to grow by 1.6 to 1.7 percent in 2011 and 2.5 percent to 2.9 percent next year, said the U.S. central bank in an update projection released at a press conference after the meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the interest rate policy making body of the Fed.
The economic growth remains "frustratingly slow" although it strengthened in the third quarter, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke told reporters.
He said the central bank is looking for growth and the job market is expected to improve gradually over the next two years, but at a sluggish pace.
In its June projection, the Fed said that the economy would increase by 2.7 percent to 2.9 percent in 2011, and 3.3 percent to 3.7 percent in 2012.
In Wednesday's forecast, the central bank saw the unemployment rate will stay at 9.0 percent to 9.1 percent in 2011, and 8.5 percent to 8.7 percent in 2012. These numbers are worse than the June projection, which expected the widely watched unemployment rate to fall to 8.6 percent to 8.9 percent in 2011, and 7.8 percent to 8.2 percent in 2012.
In a statement released before the press conference, the Fed said that "economic growth strengthened somewhat in the third quarter, reflecting in part a reversal of the temporary factors that had weighed on growth earlier in the year."
However, "recent indicators point to continuing weakness in overall labor market conditions, and the unemployment rate remains elevated," said the Fed.