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posted on 13 February 2017

Recent Declines In The Fed's Longer-run Economic Projections

from the Chicago Fed

-- this post authored by Jonas D. M. Fisher and Christopher Russo

Over the past few years, the FOMC’s longer-run projections for economic growth, unemployment, and the federal funds rate have fallen quite dramatically. We verify that these views are shared by the private sector and show that the declines are not unprecedented in magnitude, but the projections have reached historical lows. We point to some reasons for these developments and touch on some implications for monetary policy.

Regular and timely surveys of private sector longer-run economic projections have been conducted for decades, but the public release of such forecasts by the FOMC’s participants (the Federal Reserve Governors and 12 Reserve Bank presidents) is a recent phenomenon.1

Economic forecasts for the current and following year have been presented in the Monetary Policy Report (MPR) submitted by the Board of Governors to Congress twice a year since 1979. However, it was not until 2009 that the MPR included longer-run projections. The inaugural SEP was released to the public at the conclusion of the October 2007 FOMC meeting.

It contained forecast information similar to that in the MPR at the time but was to be made available to the public more frequently. With the exception of 2012 when there were five SEPs, an SEP has been released following FOMC meetings once a quarter ever since.

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