By Peter Schroeder - 04/03/12 06:27 PM EDT
Fed members agreed, however, that while economic data gathered since they last met was "mixed," it was more positive than not, and indicative of an economy that is "expanding moderately."
There was little evidence the Fed expects economic growth to rapidly increase anytime soon, as officials expected continued average growth that would contribute to a "gradually" declining unemployment rate. The Fed currently estimates the economy will grow at a rate of less than 3 percent for the next few years.
The latest minutes detail a meeting where the Fed made little changes to its existing policy. Citing a lackluster recovery, the central bank said it expected the economy would merit keeping interest rates near zero until the end of 2014.
Despite its concerns over the strength of the recovery, the minutes gave little indication that the Fed is preparing to embark on another round of "quantitative easing," in which the Fed buys up billions of bonds in a bid to further lowering borrowing costs and spurring the economy.
The FOMC says it is prepared to adjust its holdings if needed, but the minutes indicate that such action would likely only come if the economy "lost momentum" or if inflation continued to run below the target 2 percent rate.
On the inflation front, the Fed exhibited little concern over the recent jump in gas prices. While acknowledging that the price of gas had increased in recent months, FOMC members saw "little evidence" of cost pressures that would signal growing inflation.