U.S. Federal Reserve officials are increasingly confident of the economic recovery but remain unsatisfied with the healing of the job market, minutes of their January meeting released on Wednesday showed.

Participants generally expressed greater confidence that the economic recovery would be sustained, the Fed said.

While officials believed downside risks to the recovery were dissipating, the minutes characterized the forecasts policymakers presented at the January 25-26 policy meeting as not greatly changed.

Officials raised their 2011 growth forecast to a range of 3.4 percent to 3.9 percent from their November projection of 3 percent to 3.6 percent.

The U.S. jobless rate was forecast to be in a range of 8.8 percent to 9 percent in the fourth quarter of this year, little changed from the Fed's earlier projection of 8.9 percent to 9.1 percent. Unemployment was seen declining only gradually over the Fed's three-year forecast horizon.

Overall, meeting participants continued to express disappointment in both the pace of and the unevenness of the improvements in labor markets, the minutes said.

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal)