By John S. McClenahen As expected, the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the Federal Reserve panel that sets U.S. short-term interest rates, left the federal funds rate at 1.75% at its May 7 meeting. Although rising crude oil prices could change the calculations during the next several months, inflation is not a major concern for the 10 FOMC members at the moment. However, they, along with a lot of interested manufacturing CEOs, will be keeping a sharp eye on the strength of the U.S. recovery from recession. "The degree of strengthening in final demand over coming quarters, an essential element in sustained economic expansion, is still uncertain," the FOMC said after its May meeting. The FOMC's next scheduled meeting is a two-day get-together on June 25 and 26.