Federal Reserve policymakers are wrestling with what additional steps — if any — should be taken to strengthen the plodding economy and drive down near double-digit unemployment.
Lots of debate is expected at today's one-day meeting. But few expect any major programs to be unveiled. Instead, many will be looking to see if the Fed offers clues about the timing of any new aid and what changes in the economy would trigger such a move. A statement from the Fed is expected about 2:15 p.m. ET.
To give the Fed extra time for discussions, the meeting is scheduled to start around 8 a.m. — earlier than when it has two-day sessions.
There are differing views on the Fed's main policymaking group — the Federal Open Markets Committee — about what should be done. And some pressure is off after a few mildly positive economic reports showed the pace of layoffs has slowed, shoppers' appetites to spend has picked up and factory production is growing.