NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Enjoy the holidays, because the Federal Reserve just went on one.
The Fed's policy-making arm decided Wednesday to maintain its pace of economic stimulus and leave the federal funds rate at record-low levels, prompting economists and analysts to say the central bank won't modify its strategy until 2014.
"It's like the ball player who's day-to-day with an injury: the Fed is meeting to meeting, so right now the Fed is trying to catch up on economic releases that were delayed," said Greg McBride, senior financial analyst at Bankrate.com.
A weak September jobs report led a basket of tepid and in-line economic indicators that have emerged since last month's central bank meeting. Adding to the Fed's uncertainty is this month's government shutdown in Washington, which central bankers will only begin to assess in November.
There's growing consensus among economists that the Fed will stall until at least March to announce a taper to asset purchases because of the weak economic data that preceded the government shutdown and the worries of how much Washington's battle frightened investors and consumers.
"Fiscal policy is an easy target, because it has indeed hurt growth in 2013 and it will likely hurt growth in 2014 as well," said Steve Blitz, chief economist at ITG Investment Research.
Economic stress caused by fiscal policy also includes effects of the sequestration that has dented gross domestic product growth.
Interestingly, the Fed chose not to directly acknowledge the government shutdown, but kept the same language from its previous statement that simply said fiscal policy is restraining growth.