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Fed takes no new action at final meeting of 2011
Fed keeps policy unchanged at final meeting of year, citing modest economic improvements
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' The Federal Reserve says the economy has grown moderately as hiring and consumer spending have improved. As a result, it's holding off on any new steps to boost the economy.

Fed officials cautioned in their statement that unemployment remains high. And it noted that global economic growth has slowed ' a reference to Europe's debt crisis. They left open the possibility of taking new steps next year if the economy worsens.

Most economists expect Fed policymakers used their final meeting of the year to fine-tune a strategy for communicating changes in interest rates more explicitly. The Fed has left rates near zero for the past three years.

The statement was approved by a 9-1 vote. Charles Evans dissented for the second straight meeting.

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