Fed notes better economy, takes no policy action

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- The Federal Reserve offered a more positive view of the economy after a burst of hiring since its last meeting. It held off taking further steps to boost the recovery.

The Fed noted in a statement after its one-day meeting Wednesday that the unemployment rate has declined notably and should continue to fall. It also said strains in the global financial markets have eased, though it warned they continue to pose a threat.

Further hiring gains could put pressure on policymakers to rethink a plan to keep short-term interest rates near zero until at least late 2014.

Still, the Fed stuck with that timeframe in the statement. It said that while prices of crude oil and gasoline will push up inflation temporarily, longer-term inflation should remain stable.