Another decline in the unemployment rate in November keeps the Federal Reserve on track to quicken the wind-down of its stimulus programs at its meeting later this month, paving the way to raise interest rates in the first half of next year to curb inflation.

The Fed closed a chapter on its aggressive pandemic policy response when it approved plans at its meeting last month to shrink, or taper, its $120 billion monthly asset-purchase program by $15 billion in each of November and December. At that pace, the asset purchases would end next June. The Fed wants to end the asset purchases before it lifts interest rates, which it held near zero.



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