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and the housing sector had shown further improvement. It also acknowledged calmer financial conditions in Europe, omitting a December warning that these posed a significant threat, although it said downside risks remained.
Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George, in her first policy vote, dissented against continued Fed stimulus, picking up the mantle left behind by Richmond Fed chief Jeffrey Lacker, who dissented at every policy meeting last year.
The Fed's bond-buying program, under which it currently purchases $40 billion of mortgage-backed bonds and $45 billion of longer-dated Treasuries a month, is part of the central bank's unprecedented effort to spark a stronger recovery and drive down unemployment.
Most analysts do not expect the outlook for the labor market to show the substantial improvement the Fed wants to see this year, keeping it on track for further bond buying.