A comparison of the Federal Reserve's statements from its two-day meeting that ended Wednesday and its meeting October 27-28:
Now: Fed policymakers see the economy as able to handle a rate increase: The Fed "decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to ¼ to ½ percent."
Then: The Fed did not raise but hinted at a rate increase at the December meeting: "In determining whether it will be appropriate to raise the target range at its next meeting, the Committee will assess progress--both realized and expected--toward its objectives of maximum employment and 2 percent inflation."
December: The Fed sees the job market as much improved: "A range of recent labor market indicators, including ongoing job gains and declining unemployment, shows further improvement and confirms that the underutilization of labor resources has diminished appreciably since early this year."
October: "The pace of job gains slowed and the unemployment rate held steady. Nonetheless, labor market indicators, on balance, show that underutilization of labor resources has diminished since early this year."