Wall Street had expected the Fed to refrain from tapering its so-called money printing operation. Economic data, particularly in employment and consumer confidence, has weakened over the past two months, giving the U.S. central bank cover to continue unabated.
Language in the October statement mirrored the "moderate pace" of economic improvement that the Fed saw at its last meeting in September.
The statement, though, did omit a reference from last month that fiscal tightening could slow growth in jobs and the broader economy, and it excluded mention of the political battling in Washington.
"There is no explicit mention of the government shutdown or what impact it might have on the economy or the Fed's monetary policy," Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, said in a note. "It is possible that Fed officials want to downplay the recent two-week closure and the potential for another shutdown early next year because they still intend to begin tapering the asset purchases at the FOMC meeting in December.