News

A look at how the Fed's views have changed on the US economy and job market

A comparison of the Federal Reserve’s statements from its two-day meeting that ended Wednesday and its meeting on Jan. 29-30:

HIGHER TAXES, GOVERNMENT SPENDING CUTS:

January: The statement then didn’t mention government tax and spending policies: “Household spending and business fixed investment advanced, and the housing sector has shown further improvement.”

March: Wednesday’s statement reflects Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke’s concern that higher payroll taxes and automatic government spending cuts will slow the economy: “Household spending and business fixed investment advanced, and the housing sector has strengthened further, but fiscal policy has become somewhat more restrictive.”

JOB MARKET IMPROVING:

Then: “Employment has continued to expand at a moderate pace but the unemployment rate remains elevated.”

Now: “Labor market conditions have shown signs of improvement in recent months but the unemployment rate remains elevated”

EUROPEAN STRAINS REAPPEAR:

Then: “Although strains in global financial markets have eased somewhat, the Committee continues to see downside risks to the economic outlook.”

Now: With banks in Cyprus requiring an international bailout, the reference to better global financial conditions has disappeared and Wednesday’s statement simply reads: “The Committee continues to see downside risks to the economic outlook.”