Investors treaded lightly after the mixed employment report that showed non-farm payrolls rose 103,000, far below analysts’ expectations. The report also showed a surprisingly large number of people gave up searching for work, tempering the positive news of a big drop in the unemployment rate.
The Fed cut interest rates to near zero in December 2008 and bought $1.7 trillion of longer-term securities to pull the economy out of a deep recession. The US Central Bank announced in November it would start buying bonds again, a decision that met with widespread criticism domestically, internationally, and within the Fed itself, for weakening the dollar and risking dangerous inflation.
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