The Region

The FOMC's forward guidance since the crisis

Published May 18, 2015  | May 2015 issue

  • December 2008: The FOMC establishes a federal funds rate target of 0 to 25 basis points and says it “anticipates that weak economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for some time.” Later statements extend that horizon to “an extended period” and then to specified dates of mid-2013, late 2014, and ultimately mid-2015.
  • March 2009, November 2010, September 2011, and June 2012: The FOMC announces programs to buy specified quantities of assets over specified time periods.
  • September 2012: The FOMC says it will buy $40 billion per month of mortgage-backed securities until the outlook for the labor market improves substantially “in a context of price stability.”
  • December 2012: The FOMC stops forecasting a time period when exceptionally low interest rates will remain appropriate. Instead, it says it will keep the funds rate target at 0 to 25 basis points at least as long as unemployment exceeds 6.5 percent, assuming inflation remains under control.
  • December 2013: The FOMC slows asset purchases and says it will likely reduce them in “further measured steps” if incoming data match expectations.
  • March 2014: As unemployment nears the 6.5 percent threshold, the FOMC describes a “wide range of information” that will influence its decisions and says it anticipates that low interest rates will likely remain appropriate for a “considerable time” after the end of asset purchases.

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