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WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve is trying again to jolt an economy that’s being held back by a weakened job market.

To spur borrowing and spending, it’s extending a program designed to lower long-term U.S. interest rates.

At the end of a two-day policy meeting Wednesday, the Fed also sharply reduced its forecast for U.S. growth and said it’s prepared to act further to bolster the economy. It reiterated its plan to keep short-term interest rates at record lows until at least late 2014.

“If we’re not seeing a sustained improvement in the labor market, that would require additional action,” Bernanke said at his quarterly news conference later in the day.

Wall Street wasn’t impressed by the Fed’s limited response Wednesday. Stock prices barely budged. And analysts questioned how much benefit the Fed’s latest economy-boosting effort would have, in part because interest rates are already near record lows.

If the Fed’s more pessimistic outlook proves accurate, President Barack Obama’s chances in an election that will turn on the economy would likely suffer.

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