November 15, 2018

Northwest FCS News

Meeting Date: Nov. 7-8, 2018

Economic Highlights
This section of the FOMC release is similar to the Sept. 26, 2018, statement with labor markets remaining strong and the unemployment rate low; economic activity rising at a strong rate; and household spending continuing to increase, but business fixed investment has slowed from its strong growth earlier in the year. The rate of inflation is near the 2.0 percent goal, and longer-term inflation expectations are relatively stable.

  • “Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in September indicates that the labor market has continued to strengthen, and that economic activity has been rising at a strong rate.
  • Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has declined. Household spending has continued to grow strongly, while growth of business fixed investment has moderated from its rapid pace earlier in the year.
  • On a 12-month basis, both overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy remain near 2 percent.
  • Indicators of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance.”


Fed funds rate unchanged at the range of 2.00-2.25 percent. Fed claims monetary policy is in line with the effort to keep labor market strong and keep inflation near the 2.0 percent goal. Declares risk of more inflation and slower economic growth to be roughly equal. In a separate statement, the FOMC declared the current IOER (Interest on Excess Reserves) to be 2.20 percent.

  • “Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. The Committee expects that further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will be consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions and inflation near the Committee's symmetric 2 percent objective over the medium term.
  • Risks to the economic outlook appear roughly balanced.
  • 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 2 to 2.25 percent.
  • The Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System voted unanimously to maintain the interest rate paid on required and excess reserve balances at 2.20 percent, effective Nov. 9, 2018.


Forward Guidance
The Fed indicated that future rate hikes will depend on economic conditions such as labor market changes, indicators of inflation pressures and any changes in inflation expectations, as well as any new financial and international developments.

  • “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 percent 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 Results
No dissenting vote at this meeting.
Voting for the FOMC monetary policy action were: Jerome H. Powell, Chairman; John C. Williams, Vice Chairman; Thomas I. Barkin; Raphael W. Bostic; Lael Brainard; Richard H. Clarida; Mary C. Daly; Loretta J. Mester; and Randal K. Quarles.

Next Meeting: Dec. 18-19,2018

The preceding information contains excerpts from an official published statement on the Federal Open Market Committee’s Nov. 7-8,2018 meeting.  For full text, please visit the Federal Reserve website.