Federal Reserve officials approved a modest decrease in the monthly asset purchasing program in December as a cautious first step towards policy normalization, according to minutes from the key December meeting.
Details from the meeting showed also that the Fed is pursuing a course contingent on economic progress and not set in stone.
The Open Markets Committee voted to cut the purchases from $85 billion to $75 billion a month, but gave no indication that a future course is preset.
"Many members judged that the committee should proceed cautiously in taking its first action to reduce the pace of asset purchases and should indicate that further reductions would be undertaken in measured steps," the minutes said.
"Members also stressed the need to underscore that the pace of asset purchases was not on a preset course and would remain contingent on the committee's outlook for the labor market and inflation as well as its assessment of the efficacy and costs of purchases."
The U.S. central bank has been buoyed toward increasingly positive news in the employment market, with ADP and Moody's Analytics reporting Wednesday that private payrolls increased by a relatively robust 238,000 in December.