WASHINGTON – A comparison of the Federal Reserve's statements from its Sept. 20-21 meeting and the two-day meeting that ended Wednesday:
September: Fed policymakers said growth was slow and emphasized the risks the U.S. economy was facing, particularly from Europe. The statement said: "Economic growth remains slow. ... There are significant downside risks to the economic outlook, including strains in the global financial markets."
November: The Fed expressed a more upbeat view, though it repeated its concern about "significant downside risks." The statement said: "Economic growth strengthened somewhat in the third quarter, reflecting in part a reversal of the temporary factors that had weighed on growth earlier in the year."
Then: "Household spending has been increasing at only a modest pace in recent months."
Now: The central bank is more optimistic: "Household spending has increased at a somewhat faster pace in recent months." Consumer spending accounts for about 70 percent of the economy.
Then: The Fed says it "continues to expect some pickup in the pace of recovery over coming quarters but anticipates that the unemployment rate will decline only gradually."
Now: The central bank says "continues to expect a moderate pace of economic growth over coming quarters and consequently anticipates that the unemployment rate will decline only gradually."
Then: "Inflation appears to have moderated since earlier in the year as prices of energy and some commodities have declined from their peaks. Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable."
Now: The Fed still believes inflation is in check, and repeated its language from the last statement. "Inflation appears to have moderated since earlier in the year as prices of energy and some commodities have declined from their peaks. Longer-term inflation expectations have remained stable."
Then: There is "continuing weakness in overall labor market conditions, and the unemployment rate remains elevated."
Now: The Fed's view is the same: There is "continuing weakness in the overall labor market conditions, and the unemployment rate remains elevated."
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