Tuesday, November 23, 2010

FRB: FOMC Minutes, November 2-3, 2010

By now you probably have seen the news story on the Fed lowering their growth forecasts for the coming year. For instance here is how it was reported by the Washington Post:
"Federal Reserve officials expect the unemployment rate to remain around nine percent at the end of next year and eight percent at the end of 2012, according to internal forecasts that drove the central bank to take new efforts to boost the economy three weeks ago.
The 18 top leaders of the central bank expect the U.S. economy to grow at a 3 to 3.6 percent pace next year, which by their calculations will be enough to bring joblessness, currently at 9.6 percent, down to the 8.9 to 9.1 percent range in late 2011."
While the news gets it right, you really only get the headlines.  Therefore I would encourage all of you (especially any students who are in Money and Banking or Financial Institutions), to take a few extra minutes and actually read the minutes from the meeting.

FRB: FOMC Minutes, November 2-3, 2010:
"...information reviewed at the November 2-3 meeting indicated that the economic recovery proceeded at a modest rate in recent months, with only a gradual improvement in labor market conditions, and was accompanied by a continued low rate of inflation. Consumer spending, business investment in equipment and software, and exports posted further gains in the third quarter, and nonfarm inventory investment stepped up. But construction activity in both the residential and nonresidential sectors remained depressed, and a significant portion of the rise in domestic demand was again met by imports. U.S. industrial production slowed noticeably in August and September, hiring at private businesses remained modest, and the unemployment rate stayed elevated. Headline consumer price inflation was subdued in recent months, despite a rise in energy prices, as core consumer price inflation trended lower..."
And later a discussion of why unemployment is recovering slowly:
"Participants agreed that progress in reducing unemployment was disappointing; indeed, several noted that the recent rate of output growth, if continued, would more likely be associated with an increase than a decrease in the unemployment rate. Participants again discussed the extent to which employment was being held down, and the unemployment rate boosted, by structural factors such as mismatches between the skills of the workers who had lost their jobs and the skills needed in the sectors of the economy with vacancies, the inability of the unemployed to relocate because their homes were worth less than the principal they owed on their mortgages, and the effects of extended unemployment benefits on the duration of unemployed workers' search for a new job. Participants agreed that such factors were contributing to continued high unemployment but differed in their assessments of the magnitude of such effects."

There is much much more detail and breadth in the minutes. Well worth the read. 

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