Wednesday, April 8, 2009 EST

Fed pushes back recovery forecast

According to the minutes of the Fed's latest policy meeting, which were released Wednesday, the central bank said that gross domestic product, the broadest measure of economic activity, is likely to flatten out in the second half of 2009 and expand only slowly next year.

The Fed also said that it now expected the unemployment rate to rise more steeply into early next year before "flattening out at a high level over the rest of the year." The unemployment rate hit 8.5% nationwide in March, up from 8.1% a month earlier.