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Federal Reserve: Economic Recovery Is On 'Firmer Footing'

There's no mention of the crisis in Japan and what effect it may or may not have on the global economy, so in some sense the statement just released by policymakers at the Federal Reserve may be superseded in coming weeks as that event plays out.

But here's what the members of the Federal Open Market Committee are thinking about how the economy is doing:

-- "Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in January suggests that the economic recovery is on a firmer footing, and overall conditions in the labor market appear to be improving gradually."

-- "The recent increases in the prices of energy and other commodities are currently putting upward pressure on inflation. The Committee expects these effects to be transitory, but it will pay close attention to the evolution of inflation and inflation expectations."

Also, the Fed "is maintaining its existing policy of reinvesting principal payments from its securities holdings and intends to purchase $600 billion of longer-term Treasury securities by the end of the second quarter of 2011. ... [And] the Committee will maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 0 to 1/4 percent and continues to anticipate that economic conditions, including low rates of resource utilization, subdued inflation trends, and stable inflation expectations, are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels for the federal funds rate for an extended period."

For some analysis of the possible economic consequences of the crisis in Japan, see our friends at Planet Money.

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Mark Memmott is NPR's supervising senior editor for Standards & Practices. In that role, he's a resource for NPR's journalists – helping them raise the right questions as they do their work and uphold the organization's standards.