The Housing Chronicles Blog: FOMC meeting minutes reveal continued growth despite hurricane-related disruptions

Monday, November 27, 2017

FOMC meeting minutes reveal continued growth despite hurricane-related disruptions

The information reviewed for the October 31-November 1 meeting indicated that labor market conditions generally continued to strengthen and that real gross domestic product (GDP) expanded at a solid pace in the third quarter despite hurricane-related disruptions.

Al­though the effects of the recent hurricanes led to a reported decline in payroll employment in September, the unemployment rate decreased further. Retail gasoline prices jumped in the aftermath of the hurricanes, but total consumer price inflation, as measured by the 12‑month percentage change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures (PCE), remained below 2 percent in September and was lower than early in the year. Survey‑based measures of longer-run inflation expectations were little changed on balance...

The U.S. economic projection prepared by the staff for this FOMC meeting was broadly similar to the previous forecast. Real GDP was expected to rise at a solid pace in the fourth quarter of this year, boosted in part by a rebound in spending and production after the negative effects of the hurricanes in the third quarter. Payroll employment was also expected to rebound during the fourth quarter.

Beyond 2017, the forecast for real GDP growth was essentially unrevised. In particular, the staff continued to project that real GDP would expand at a modestly faster pace than potential output through 2019. The unemployment rate was projected to decline gradually over the next couple of years and to continue running below the staff's estimate of its longer-run natural rate over this period...

In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to maintain the target range for the federal funds rate at 1 to 1-1/4 percent. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting some further strengthening in labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation.


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