Federal Reserve officials believe the economy is healing, but not fast enough to raise interest rates.
The central bank's monetary policy committee kept its target for short-term interest rates near zero on Wednesday in an announcement following the end of a two-day meeting in Washington.
The members of the committee noted that the labor market had gained strength since earlier in the year, but saw no improvement in progress toward its inflation goal.
"The labor market continued to improve, with solid job gains and declining unemployment," the statement read.
Ongoing job gains keep expectations set for rate hikes in upcoming months, because Chairwoman Janet Yellen and others have repeatedly said that they will move when unemployment declines further and inflation rises toward the Fed's 2 percent goal.
The statement released Wednesday said that the "underutilization of labor resources has diminished since early this year."
It also included one small, ambiguously worded addition to its guidance about when it will raise rates. The statement added the single word "some" to its guidance that members will wait until they have "seen some further improvement in the labor market."
The decision not to raise rates was what investors had expected. Wall Street is watching closely for clues about the timing and pace of the increases, which will be the first since 2006. The Fed lowered its rate target to zero during the financial crisis in an effort to stimulate the economy.
A survey of economists conducted by CNBC found that most expect the Fed to move at its September meeting, with some guessing that Yellen and company will wait until October or December.
Odds implied by bond markets suggest that investors anticipate the rate hike is more likely later in the year.
Members of the Fed must sort through conflicting indicators regarding the U.S. economy. With the unemployment rate at 5.3 percent and some signs of wage growth acceleration, the labor market is nearing full health, by the Fed's estimation. Inflation, however, has run closer to zero than to the Fed's 2 percent target in recent months, thanks largely to the collapse in oil prices over the past year.
At the same time, Fed officials have to assess the risks posed by market turmoil in China and signs of potential trouble in Greece and elsewhere.
Yellen has maintained that the Fed will raise its target and begin tightening money at some point in 2015. She also has suggested that the subsequent pace of further increases is more important than the timing of the first move.
Wednesday's decision saw no dissent among the 10 Fed governors and regional bank presidents voting.