January 26, 2011 2:30 PM, EST

Fed Keeps Interest Rate at Record Low

The Federal Reserve voted Wednesday to keep a key U.S. interest rate at a record low rate of zero to 0.25%.

The move was the 18th straight time the Fed has kept the rate at that level; it first did so in December 2008.

The “economic recovery is continuing, though at a rate that has been insufficient to bring about a significant improvement in labor market conditions,” the Fed said.

The Fed last held the “target range” federal funds rate — the rate that banks charge each other — at the same level in December. Its vote this month was unanimous.

The Fed will maintain its policy of reinvesting principal payments from its securities holdings and said it still intends to purchase $600 billion in longer-term Treasury securities by the end of the second quarter.

Click here for the Fed’s full statement. (Federal Reserve website.)