January 2018 Economic Recap
In its first meeting of 2018 the FOMC left its target range for the Fed Funds rate unchanged at 1.25%-1.50%. The committee sighted positive developments in the labor market and the broader economy, setting up the possibility for a rate hike at the next meeting in March. The meeting marked Janet Yellen’s final week as Chair of the committee. Yellen departs the Chairmanship after having overseen the “lift-off” from 0% interest rates, as well as the beginning of the wind-down of the Fed’s $4 trillion balance sheet. During her four-year tenure the economy experienced nearly uninterrupted job growth, and the unemployment rate fell from 6.6% to 4.1%.
Recent reports from the BEA found that the economy expanded by 2.6% in the fourth quarter of 2017, slightly below expectations. Underlying numbers point to strength though, with consumer spending rising by nearly 4%, and business investment continuing to pick up. Overall, the economy expanded by 2.5% in 2017, better than the majority of economists’ expectations headed in the year.
For a deeper consideration of the economic data released during January, please follow the links below: