Wall Street Journal (11/28/12) Jon Hilsenrath
Just three months after launching an aggressive push to restart the struggling economy, U.S. Federal Reserve officials are nearing a decision to continue those efforts into 2013 as the country faces threats from the “fiscal cliff” at home and fragile economies worldwide. Central bank officials face critical decisions at their mid-December policy meeting. The most pressing is whether to move forward with bond-buying programs in which the Fed is accumulating immense stockpiles of long-term mortgage-backed securities and Treasury bonds. The Fed signaled strongly in September that it was inclined to sustain these programs until the job market strengthens significantly.
Although the unemployment rate has declined since July, many policy makers say the unemployment rate needs to decline further. Forecasting firm Macroeconomic Advisers LLC says the economy grew at a 2.9% pace in the third quarter, but has since slowed to a pace of 1.4%. The U.S. needs “a faster pace of growth than we have now,” Charles Evans, president of the Chicago Fed, said in a speech this week.