Fed Continues to See Labor Market Strength, Growing Economic Activity


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Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in December indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen and that economic activity has been rising at a solid rate. Therefore, the Committee has decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 2.25% to 2.50%.

Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has remained low. Household spending has continued to grow strongly, while growth of business fixed investment has moderated from its rapid pace earlier last year. On a 12-month basis, both overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy remain near 2.0%. Although market-based measures of inflation compensation have moved lower in recent months, survey-based measures of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed.

The Committee’s decision to maintain its federal funds target range is consistent with its statutory mandate to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee continues to view sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions, and inflation near the Committee’s symmetric 2.0% objective as the most likely outcomes. In light of global economic and financial developments and muted inflation pressures, the Committee will be patient as it determines what future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate may be appropriate to support these outcomes.

In determining the timing and size of future adjustments to the target range for the federal funds rate, the Committee will assess realized and expected economic conditions relative to its maximum employment objective and its symmetric 2.0% inflation objective. This assessment will take into account a wide range of information, including measures of labor market conditions, indicators of inflation pressures and inflation expectations, and readings on financial and international developments.

Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Jerome H. Powell, chairman; John C. Williams, vice chairman; Michelle W. Bowman; Lael Brainard; James Bullard; Richard H. Clarida; Charles L. Evans; Esther L. George; Randal K. Quarles; and Eric S. Rosengren.

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Terry Mulreany
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terry.mulreany@monitordaily.com
Susie Angelucci
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