Comparing the US Federal Reserve's views on US economy

AP News
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Posted: Jan 27, 2016 2:37 PM

A comparison of the Federal Reserve's statements from its two-day meeting that ended Wednesday and its meeting December 15-16:

ECONOMY:

Now: Fed policymakers acknowledge some recent economic weakness: Data since December "suggests that labor market conditions improved further even as economic growth slowed late last year. Household spending and business fixed investment have been increasing at moderate rates in recent months, and the housing sector has improved further; however, net exports have been soft and inventory investment slowed."

Then: Recent data "suggests that economic activity has been expanding at a moderate pace. Household spending and business fixed investment have been increasing at solid rates in recent months, and the housing sector has improved further; however, net exports have been soft."

GLOBAL TURMOIL:

January: Fed officials briefly acknowledge concerns about growth slowdowns in China and other emerging markets: The Fed is "closely monitoring global economic and financial developments and is assessing their implications for the labor market and inflation, and for the balance of risks to the outlook."

December: The Fed didn't consider the global economy to be as much of a threat: "Overall, taking into account domestic and international developments, the (Fed) sees the risks to the outlook for both economic activity and the labor market as balanced."

JOBS:

January: The job market is still improving: "A range of recent labor market indicators, including strong job gains, points to some additional decline in underutilization of labor resources."

December: "A range of recent labor market indicators, including ongoing job gains and declining unemployment, shows further improvement and confirms that underutilization of labor resources has diminished appreciably since early this year."

INFLATION:

January: The Fed now says inflation will stay low for a bit: "Inflation is expected to remain low in the near term, in part because of the further declines in energy prices, but to rise to 2 percent over the medium term."

December: "Inflation is expected to rise to 2 percent over the medium term as the transitory effects of declines in energy and import prices dissipate."