John Ydstie

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Updated at 2:21 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve increased a key interest rate again Wednesday, which will trigger higher rates on credit cards, home equity lines and other kinds of borrowing.

The Trump administration's mixed signals on implementing tariffs is causing uncertainty for many businesses whose costs could rise if tariffs are imposed. Delaying decisions about hiring and signing contracts could hurt not only the individual businesses, but the economy as a whole.

Update: On June 15, Lucerne International CEO Mary Buchzeiger said she had been notified that the auto door hinges manufactured by her company had been removed from the Trump administration's list of goods that would be subject to a 25 percent tariff.

Update: On June 15, Lucerne International CEO Mary Buchzeiger said she had been notified that the auto door hinges manufactured by her company had been removed from the Trump administration's list of goods that would be subject to a 25 percent tariff.

The last time Mary Buchzeiger was in Washington, D.C., she was a 13-year-old on an eighth-grade trip.

This week, as the head of a small company that supplies parts to automakers, she joined other business leaders in the nation's capital to talk about President Trump's proposed tariffs aimed at China.

U.S. economic growth slowed in the first three months of the year to a 2.3 percent annual rate, down from 2.9 percent at the end of last year.

One reason is that consumers didn't keep up with the blistering pace of spending at the beginning of the year, which means slower economic growth overall, analysts say. But, if recent trends are any indication, the economy will pick up steam soon.

President Trump's tariffs on imported steel aren't the first time the industry has gotten protection from the U.S. government. Not by a long shot. In fact, tariff protection for the industry — which politicians often say is a vital national interest — goes back to the very beginning of the republic.

In his book, Clashing Over Commerce: A History of U.S. Trade Policy, Dartmouth professor Douglas Irwin writes that protection for the metal producers began in the 1790s.

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The U.S. economy grew at a 2.9 percent annual rate in the final three months of 2017, the Commerce Department said Wednesday. That's slightly faster than the previous 2.5 percent growth estimate, but slower than the 3.2 percent pace of the third quarter.

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Updated at 2:59 p.m. ET

The Federal Reserve announced a quarter-point increase in interest rates as expected Wednesday, the first rate move under its new chairman, Jerome Powell. The key fed funds rate was moved up to a target range of 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent.

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