Federal Reserve Raises Interest Rate for Second Time in Three Months

Committee said labor market has continued to strengthen and job gains remained solid

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen Speaks At The Executives Club Of Chicago
Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen / Getty Images

The policy-making arm of the Federal Reserve is raising interest rates a quarter of a percentage point for the second time in three months.

The Federal Open Market Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 0.75 to 1 percent.

The central bank kept the federal funds rate at zero since December 2008 through December 2015. At the December 2015 meeting it raised rates to a quarter of a percentage point and then a year later in December 2016 raised it again to a range of 0.5 to 0.75 percent.

The decision to hike rates was contingent on whether improvement had been made toward the central bank’s two objectives, maximum employment and price stability, or inflation approaching its 2 percent objective.

"Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in February indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has continued to expand at a moderate pace," the Fed said. "Job gains remained solid and the unemployment rate was little changed in recent months."

"Inflation has increased in recent quarters, moving close to the Committee’s 2 percent longer-run objective; excluding energy and food prices, inflation was little changed and continued to run somewhat below 2 percent," the Fed said.

The committee said that risks to the economic outlook appeared balanced, but they would continue to monitor global and financial developments.