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Those members say the costs likely outweigh the benefits. A few others saw the risks as increasing quickly and said the purchases likely would need to be reduced “before long.”

Many members said an improved job market could lead them to slow purchases within a few months, and a few said economic conditions likely would justify continuing the program until late this year.

Despite the division over when to end the program, the minutes indicated that many of the Fed‘s members want to see sustained improvement in the job market — from a wide range of economic indicators — before making any decision to reduce the pace of purchases.