Since the financial crisis, Fed policy makers have raised the interest rate range just once, last December, from its near-zero level. Betting that low rates encourage businesses to borrow and invest, Fed policy makers are now split between those who worry that reducing the economic stimulus by lifting rates would derail a fragile economy and those who fear that waiting could allow inflation to take hold.
The jobless rate has been halved in the last seven years and consumer spending remains strong, but wages have only recently begun a slow climb. In 2016, monthly job gains flip-flopped, plummeting to 24,000 in May and swelling to more than 10 times that number in June.
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