In shift, Fed sets 6.5 percent unemployment goal for easing

  • Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke gestures as he speaks during a news conference at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke gestures as he speaks during a news conference at the Federal Reserve Board in Washington on Wednesday, Dec. 12, 2012, following the Federal Open Market Committee meeting. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
  • Job seekers join a line of hundreds of people at a job fair sponsored by Monster.com in New York on March 5, 2009. The Federal Reserve projects the unemployment rate will stay elevated until late 2015, suggesting it will keep short-term interest rates low for the next three years. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)Job seekers join a line of hundreds of people at a job fair sponsored by Monster.com in New York on March 5, 2009. The Federal Reserve projects the unemployment rate will stay elevated until late 2015, suggesting it will keep short-term interest rates low for the next three years. (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan)
  • An advertisement in the classified section of the Boston Herald newspaper calls attention to possible employment opportunities in a Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, photo taken in Walpole, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)An advertisement in the classified section of the Boston Herald newspaper calls attention to possible employment opportunities in a Tuesday, Dec. 11, 2012, photo taken in Walpole, Mass. (AP Photo/Steven Senne)
  • Sen. Charles E. Schumer (right), accompanied by (from left) Sens. Bernard Sanders, Tom Harkin and Chris Coons, gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, about the possibility of Americans abruptly losing their jobless benefits at the end of the year. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)Sen. Charles E. Schumer (right), accompanied by (from left) Sens. Bernard Sanders, Tom Harkin and Chris Coons, gestures during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday, Dec. 6, 2012, about the possibility of Americans abruptly losing their jobless benefits at the end of the year. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
  • A job hunter fills out an employment application at the Fort Lauderdale Career Fair in Dania Beach, Fla., on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. The U.S. economy added a solid 146,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008, the Labor Department announced. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)A job hunter fills out an employment application at the Fort Lauderdale Career Fair in Dania Beach, Fla., on Friday, Nov. 30, 2012. The U.S. economy added a solid 146,000 jobs in November, and the unemployment rate fell to 7.7 percent, the lowest since December 2008, the Labor Department announced. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
  • A help-wanted sign is posted on the front window of a clothing boutique in Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)A help-wanted sign is posted on the front window of a clothing boutique in Los Angeles on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)

Still, it was the first time the Fed has adopted such goals after decades of discussion about whether to do so.
All of the Fed’s 12-member committee members voted for the new targets and easing program except one — Jeffrey Lacker, the hawkish and conservative president of the Fed’s Richmond reserve bank, who has called for tighter policies out of concern that the Fed’s current extremely lax policies will eventually stoke inflation.

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