WASHINGTON — For 6½ years, the Federal Reserve has held its key interest rate near zero, and for nearly that long the financial world has speculated about when the Fed will start raising it.

Don’t look for it soon.

That’s the view of most economists, who say a still-subpar economy and still-low inflation will keep rates at record lows at least until September.

On Wednesday, the Fed could clarify its plans after ending its latest policy meeting. Analysts caution, though, against expecting any specific guidance on the Fed’s timetable for a rate hike. Too many uncertainties still surround the U.S. economy. The Fed’s policymakers may want to leave themselves maneuvering room until their view of the economy’s health becomes clearer.

After its March meeting, the Fed opened the door to a rate increase this year by no longer saying it would be “patient” in starting to raise its benchmark rate. Most economists had said that dropping “patient” from its statement would mean the Fed could raise rates as soon as June – a step that would course through the economy and could slow borrowing and squeeze stocks and bonds.

Yet at a news conference later, Chair Janet Yellen stressed that while the Fed had removed “patient” to describe its approach to raising rates, it still hadn’t decided when to start raising them. Yellen said any decision would depend mainly on what the latest economic data showed. And the data since then has been disappointing.

Employers added just 126,000 workers last month, the fewest since December 2013, breaking a 12-month streak of gains above 200,000. Gauges of manufacturing, housing and consumer spending of late have been weak to modest.

The stronger dollar has hurt American manufacturers by making their goods costlier overseas. It’s also made cheaper foreign imports more competitive in the United States, thereby squeezing sales of U.S. companies and depressing profits. Lower import prices have helped hold U.S. inflation below the Fed’s long-run target of 2 percent rate.