Bloomberg (05/02/14) Rich Miller
Janet Yellen, chairwoman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, and colleagues have moved away from stressing the importance of economic growth quickening from the 2.0% to 2.5% pace it has maintained since the end of the recession to emphasizing the need to prevent the expansion from faltering. Federal Open Market Committee members expect gross domestic product to rise to 2.8% to 3.0% this year and 3.0% to 3.2% next year, and if this does not occur, policymakers likely will proceed with cuts in asset purchases instead of rushing out more stimulus.
Observers believe this means the central bank will begin raising rates in the second half of 2015, with increases coming sooner if economic performance exceeds expectations. The ongoing decline in the unemployment rate and rising payrolls have prompted FOMC policymakers to reduce their estimates of the economy’s potential growth rate from between 2.5% and 2.8% in April 2011 to between 2.2% and 2.3% in March.