By CHRISTOPHER RUGABER
AP Economics Writer
WASHINGTON (AP) — Don’t call it a “pause.” When the Federal Reserve meets next week, it is widely expected to leave interest rates alone — after 10 straight meetings in which it has jacked up its key rate to fight inflation. But what might otherwise be seen as a “pause” will likely be characterized instead as a “skip.” The difference? A “pause” might suggest that the Fed may not raise its benchmark rate again. A “skip” implies that it probably will — just not now. The purpose of suspending its rate hikes is to give the Fed’s policymakers time to look around and assess how much higher borrowing rates are slowing inflation.