The Federal Reserve has decided that a cloudy economic picture means interest rates will stay unchanged.

Janet Yellen
Janet Yellen (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

Rider University economist Herb Gishlick says a big part of the uncertainty lies with a job market that generated just 38,000 new positions in the entire country last month.

"The unemployment rate goes down, but what you have to look at is what is happening to the overall labor force participation rate. The unemployment rate can go down simply because some people stop looking for work, and that was sort of hinted at in their (the Fed's) suggestion that employment gains have been weak in this last report."

In the statement that was issued after a two-day policy meeting, the Federal Reserve talked about waiting for a clearer economic picture in the months ahead.

Gishlick says their action, or inaction, will not influence everyday Americans.

"I do not see anything that would really propel consumers to suddenly change their spending decisions."

The Fed raised its benchmark rate in December from record lows to a range of 0.25 percent to 0.50 percent. Some economists think a July hike is possible if the job market rebounds and markets remain calm after Britain's vote next week on whether to leave the European Union.

Gishlick believes a July rate hike would be "premature." He says the Fed is also reluctant to shake up already shaky financial markets.

Joe Cutter is the afternoon news anchor on New Jersey 101.5

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