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Fed: Data Indicate Rebound on Track

Washington (McClatchey) — Shrugging off dismal economic growth numbers for the first quarter of 2014, the Federal Reserve said Wednesday it would taper back its controversial monthly bond-buying program by another $10 billion in May amid an improving outlook.

The policymaking Federal Open Market Committee ended its two-day meeting with a statement that said “growth in economic activity has picked up recently, after having slowed sharply during the winter in part because of adverse weather conditions.”

That was a reference to the Commerce Department’s report earlier Wednesday that showed economic growth in came to a standstill in the first quarter.

“Labor market indicators were mixed but on balance showed further improvement,” the Fed said.

, though it added that unemployment remains elevated. “Household spending appears to be rising more quickly. Business fixed investment edged down, while the recovery in the housing sector remained slow. Fiscal policy is restraining economic growth, although the extent of restraint is diminishing.”

Fed Chair Janet Yellen and her colleagues saw enough improvement, however, to continue the gradual withdrawal of stimulus they’ve been giving the economy and stock market since 2013 by way of the unusual purchases of government and mortgage bonds.