The Federal Reserve, often referred to as the Fed, is the central banking system of the United States. One of its primary tools for managing the economy is the setting of interest rates, specifically the federal funds rate. This rate influences borrowing costs throughout the economy and has significant implications for economic activity, inflation, and employment. Amidst a backdrop of economic uncertainty, the United States Federal Reserve recently announced its decision to maintain interest rates at current levels while signaling potential cuts in the future. 

Based on these factors and others, the FOMC decides whether to raise, lower, or maintain the federal funds rate. A rate hike is typically seen as a tightening of monetary policy, intended to slow down economic activity and control inflation. Conversely, a rate cut is an easing of monetary policy, aimed at stimulating economic growth and boosting employment.