Although improvement in the labor market is evident, Federal Reserve officials said sustained gain is needed before they will end their vow to keep interest rates at a record low. "You need the economy hitting a critical speed in the Fed's mind, have enough momentum behind it to be able to withstand the first moves to renormalize monetary policy," said John Ryding, chief economist and founder of RDQ Economics. Policymakers need to see "a few months of pretty solid private-sector job creation before they will tinker with the extended-period language."

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