ANKARA

The US Federal Reserve improved its projections for economic growth and unemployment on Wednesday after it kept its benchmark interest rate unchanged as expected.

The central bank expects the economy to expand 6.5% in 2021, a significant improvement from its previous estimate of 4.2% made in December.

The American economy shrank at an annual rate of 31.7% during the second quarter, the largest quarterly contraction on record because of the coronavirus pandemic. While the unemployment rate stood at 8.4% in August, the central bank also made revisions to those projections.

It now forecasts unemployment to come in at 4.5% this year, which is an improvement from the previous estimate of 5%.

The central bank has focused on achieving maximum employment to revive the world’s largest economy. To achieve that, it will allow inflation to climb above its 2% target.

As for federal funds rate projections, the Fed indicated that its benchmark interest rate could remain unchanged through 2023, according to its “dot plot” that shows projections of the Federal Open Market Committee’s 12 members.

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