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Here's What the Federal Reserve Just Said About the U.S. Economy

By Matthew Frankel, CFP® – Jul 29, 2020 at 9:12AM

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Rates are still at near-zero, and the FOMC's statement has some new things to say about the economy (but nothing really surprising).

The Federal Reserve's policy-making Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) just wrapped up its July meeting, and as expected, it left interest rates unchanged. The target range for the benchmark federal funds rate remains at 0% to 0.25%, where is expected to stay -- at least for the duration of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Additionally, the FOMC only releases economic projections at four of its eight meetings each year, and this wasn't one of those. So we don't know how the policy makers' views on GDP growth, unemployment, or the future direction of interest rates have changed.

Exterior entrance to a Federal Reserve building.

Image source: Getty Images.

The FOMC statement changed a bit

At the conclusion of every FOMC meeting, the committee releases a statement to explain its latest interest rate decision and its views on the outlook for the economy and monetary policy. Few documents in all of finance are as closely dissected as the FOMC statement, and even small changes can move the stock market.

In the June statement, there were a couple of notable changes.

First, the FOMC acknowledged that after the initial surge in job losses and plunge in economic activity, things have started to improve. According to the statement, "Following sharp declines, economic activity and employment have picked up somewhat in recent months but remain well below their levels at the beginning of the year."

But the FOMC also implied that there's a tremendous amount of uncertainty as the pandemic continues to unfold, saying that, "The path of the economy will depend significantly on the course of the virus."

Aside from those two tweaks, the statement remained the same as the one issued in June. Neither change was a terribly surprising or significant one, so that's why the stock market seems to be shrugging off the Fed's decision this month.

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