WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve officials last month kept a key interest rate unchanged but saw the decision as a "close call." Many believed that the case for a rate hike had strengthened in recent months.
Minutes of the Sept. 20-21 meeting showed Fed officials were inching closer to hiking rates for the first time since last December. But they decided to hold off, given that inflation was still running below their 2 percent target and there was little sign of rising wage pressures.
The minutes said that some officials believed it would be appropriate to raise rates "relatively soon" if the labor market kept improving.
Many economists expect the Fed to keep rates unchanged at the next meeting in November but raise rates by a modest quarter-point in December.