The slow recovery in U.S. employment could be accelerated if the Federal Reserve signaled plans to keep interest rates near zero as late as 2017, according to a paper by a leading Fed researcher. However, the study doesn't necessarily presage any change in the Fed's intentions. The central bank's current target is 6.5% unemployment if inflation remains below 2.5%, and expectations are that tapering of the Fed's bond-buying program will commence early next year.

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