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Today at 2 p.m., the Federal Reserve released the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting held in October, in which officials discussed monetary policies and the state of the economy. As is custom, the minutes were made available to the public three weeks afterwards.
Overall, "participants viewed the information received since September as indicating that economic activity continued to expand at a moderate pace." The minutes noted increases in household spending, an improving housing market, and a decline in the unemployment rate as positive signs for the economy.
All the same, the committee noted that business spending had not been robust in the past month, and inflation edged up because of higher energy prices. The committee made no material changes to its current "accommodative" monetary policies and decided to keep the federal funds rate at 0%-0.25%. Several participants also indicated that further asset purchases may be necessary next year if the labor market has not adequately improved.
The FOMC holds eight regularly scheduled meetings each year, though in unusual or extreme circumstances the committee may convene to address economic issues as it sees fit. There have been no such meetings called in 2012, although emergency meetings became the norm throughout the crisis. Between August 2007 and July 2008, seven unscheduled FOMC meetings were held; another nine such unplanned meetings were called between August 2008 and the end of 2011.