NEW YORK (AP) – As expected, the Federal Reserve will hike its key short-term rate.

It’s the third increase since December 2015 and a show of confidence in that the economy is stable.

Steady hiring has brought down the unemployment rate to 4.7 percent, while the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation has been moving closer to the central bank’s preferred target of 2 percent.

By a 9 to 1 vote, Fed officials raised the federal funds rate by a quarter of a point.

Policymakers expect to hike rates a total of three times this year, including the increase announced today.

That’s the same as their December forecast.

But more Fed officials now support that view.

Stocks have been higher this afternoon, easily absorbing the expected news of the rate hike.

(© Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)


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