The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday afternoon that it will be raising interest rates for the first time since early 2006. The hike, from a range of zero to 0.25 percent to a range of 0.25 to 0.5 percent, was widely expected. But it still ends an unprecedented seven-year run at a zero target since the onset of the Great Recession.
According to the statement, a solid majority of the officials who vote on Fed policy believe the economic recovery is now strong enough to merit the increase. That said, the statement also included an expectation that "economic conditions will evolve in a manner that will warrant only gradual increases" in the Fed's target interest rate, which is "likely to remain, for some time, below levels that are expected to prevail in the longer run."