Wednesday, October 28, 2015

FOMC | Committee Stands Pat

Jeffery Lacker, FRB Richmond
inflation hawk, voted again for
a rate increase, losing 9 to 1.
Today the Federal Open Market Committee voted to continue interest-rate policy at the zero-bound level, where it has been since 2008.

The sole vote against the decision was that of Jeffrey M. Lacker, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, who would have preferred that the FOMC raise the target range for the federal funds rate by 25 basis points at this meeting. He had voted for a rate increase at the previous FOMC meeting.

The case for raising rates is that zero-bound interest policy makes it difficult for the Fed to encourage the economy should it take a turn for the worse, and unemployment rates are low by historical standards.

The majority view is that the FOMC has been charged since 1946 with steering between the twin dangers of inflation and unemployment. The inflation rate is below the Fed target of 2 percent and economic growth has been moderate by historical standards.

Meanwhile, the news from the Bureau of Labor Statistics this morning was that the September improvement in jobs was broadly based among metro areas.

The next meeting of the FOMC is in mid-December. The meeting will be informed by two more months' worth of new data on labor markets and other economic indicators.