Caroline Salas and Joshua Zumbrun
January 6, 2011

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Federal Reserve officials signaled they’ll probably push ahead with unprecedented stimulus until the recovery strengthens and many of the 15 million unemployed Americans find work.

The jobless rate hasn’t fallen below 9.4 percent since May 2009 and will probably average that figure this year, according to a Bloomberg News survey of economists. Unemployment probably declined to 9.7 percent last month from 9.8 percent in November, according to the average estimate of a Bloomberg poll prior to a Labor Department employment report on Jan. 7.

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While growth has picked up since the Fed announced plans on Nov. 3 to buy $600 billion of bonds, policy makers remain focused on their failure to achieve their goals of full employment and an inflation rate of about 2 percent, according to the minutes of their Dec. 14 meeting released yesterday. The recovery’s pace is likely to “remain modest, with unemployment and inflation deviating from the committee’s objectives for some time,” the minutes said.

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