Federal Open Market Committee
Transcripts and other historical materials
The most detailed record of FOMC meeting proceedings is the transcript. Beginning with the 1994 meetings, the FOMC Secretariat has produced the transcripts shortly after each meeting from an audio recording of the proceedings, lightly editing the speakers' original words, where necessary, to facilitate the reader's understanding. Meeting participants are given an opportunity within the subsequent several weeks to review the transcript for accuracy.
For the meetings before 1994, the transcripts were produced from the original, raw transcripts in the FOMC Secretariat's files. These records have also been lightly edited by the Secretariat to facilitate the reader's understanding. In addition, where one or more words were missed or garbled in the transcription, the notation "unintelligible" has been inserted. In some instances, words have been added in brackets to complete a speaker's apparent thought or to correct an obvious transcription error or misstatement.
Nonetheless, for the pre-1994 transcripts, errors undoubtedly remain. The raw transcripts were not fully edited for accuracy at the time they were prepared because they were intended only as an aid to the Secretariat in preparing meeting minutes. The edited pre-1994 transcripts have not been reviewed by present or past members of the Committee.
In transcripts from all years, a very small amount of information received on a confidential basis from, or about, foreign officials, businesses, and persons that are identified or identifiable was subject to deletion. All deleted passages, indicated by gaps in the text, are exempt from disclosure under applicable provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
For each regularly scheduled meeting, the FOMC Secretariat works with the Chairman to produce an agenda. It includes the standard topics covered at each such meeting (for example, reports on open market operations, the economic situation, and monetary policy alternatives), as well as any special items. FOMC participants receive the agenda about a week before the meeting.
The Greenbook, officially entitled "Current Economic and Financial Conditions," provides in-depth analysis of the U.S. and international economy. It is produced by the staff at the Board of Governors and is distributed to FOMC meeting attendees the week before the meeting. For most of its history, the Greenbook has been split into two parts plus a supplement:
Part 1: Current Economic and Financial Conditions: Summary and Outlook
Part 2: Current Economic and Financial Conditions: Recent Developments
Supplement: Current Economic and Financial Conditions: Supplemental Information
Background on the Greenbook
The staff at the Board of Governors has long prepared an in-depth analysis of the U.S. and international economy in preparation for each regularly scheduled FOMC meeting. Since 1964 this analysis has been entitled "Current Economic and Financial Conditions," but it has almost always been referred to as the "Greenbook" because of its distinctive green cover. It is distributed to FOMC participants about six days before the FOMC meeting.
The length and content of the Greenbook have evolved over time. Initially the Greenbook was a single document of about 50 pages accompanied by a shorter supplement, typically of ten pages or less, which was produced several days later than the Greenbook and covered developments during those several days.
In 1974, the Greenbook was split into two parts due to its growing length. The first part, known as "Greenbook Part 1," summarizes economic developments in the United States and abroad and provides the staff's forecast. Over the years, Part 1 has grown to about 50 pages. Greenbook Part 2 covers in more detail the economic developments divided into three categories: domestic nonfinancial, domestic financial, and international. By 2002, its length had grown to around 100 pages. The supplement meanwhile has remained consistent in form, content, and length since its inception.
Please note that the Greenbooks on this website may contain occasional gaps in the text. These gaps are the result of a redaction process that removes information obtained on a confidential basis. All redacted passages are exempt from disclosure under applicable provisions of the Freedom of Information Act. Analyses in the Greenbook draw on a wide range of statistical information, including data that may be preliminary estimates, experimental measures, or otherwise do not meet regular publication standards. For example, many Greenbooks include references to changes in individual benefit costs from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) Employment Cost Index; these data should be interpreted with care because they do not meet BLS's standard publication criteria.
The Bluebook, officially entitled "Monetary Policy Alternatives," is produced by the staff of the Board of Governors to provide background and context on monetary policy alternatives that the FOMC could consider at an upcoming meeting. It is distributed to FOMC participants during the week before an FOMC meeting--usually one day after the Greenbook.
Background on the Bluebook
The Bluebook, as it is known because of its light blue cover, was first created in 1965 in order to provide additional context for the monetary policy decisions being made by the FOMC. Over time, the content and the name of the document evolved. Initially the Bluebook was formally entitled "Money Market and Reserve Relationships." In 1970 the title was changed to "Monetary Aggregates and Money Market Conditions." And finally, in 1981, the title was changed to the current "Monetary Policy Alternatives."
Please note that the Bluebooks on this website may contain occasional gaps in the text. These gaps are the result of a redaction process that removed information obtained on a confidential basis. All redacted passages are exempt from disclosure under applicable provisions of the Freedom of Information Act.
After each meeting, the FOMC releases to the public a statement regarding its policy decision.
Background on Policy Statements
The FOMC first announced the outcome of a meeting in February 1994. After making several further post-meeting statements in 1994, the Committee formally announced in February 1995 that all changes in the stance of monetary policy would be immediately communicated to the public. In January 2000, the Committee announced that it would issue a statement following each regularly scheduled meeting, regardless of whether there had been a change in monetary policy.
The minutes of each regularly scheduled meeting of the Committee provide a timely summary of significant policy issues addressed by meeting participants. The minutes record all decisions taken by the Committee with respect to these policy issues and explain the reasoning behind these decisions. From their emergence in their present form in February 1993 until December 2004, the minutes were published approximately three days after the Committee's subsequent meeting. In December 2004, the Committee decided to expedite the release of its minutes. Since then, the minutes have been made available to the public three weeks after the date of the policy decision, thus reducing the lag in their release by an average of about three weeks. The minutes are subsequently published in the Board's Annual Report.
Summary of Economic Projections (SEP)
Beginning with the October 30-31, 2007 FOMC meeting, FOMC meeting participants--the 7 members of the Board of Governors and the 12 presidents of the Federal Reserve Banks, all of whom participate in the deliberations of the FOMC--submit individual economic projections in conjunction with four FOMC meetings a year. A compilation and summary of these projections (without attribution) is circulated to participants, and a detailed summary of the economic projections (the Summary of Economic Projections, or "SEP") is included as an addendum to the minutes that are released three weeks after the meeting. Beginning in April 2011, an advance version of the SEP table on the ranges and central tendencies of the participants' projections is released in conjunction with the Chairman's post-meeting press conference.
In addition to the summary information that is made available to the public in the press conference and with the minutes, the compilation and summary of individual projections (with randomized participant numbers in place of names) is made available to the public after five years.
Record of Policy Actions and Minutes of Actions
The type of material now included in the FOMC minutes was covered in two separate documents from 1967-1992: the Record of Policy Actions and the Minutes of Actions. Before 1967 (prior to the Minutes of Actions), the Record of Policy Actions was the only document written for public release that described the proceedings of the FOMC.
Background on Record of Policy Actions (Policy Record)
The Records of Policy Actions, which provided a summary of each policy decision, along with the background and reasoning behind the decision, served as the official statements of FOMC policymaking for nearly six decades. In the early years of the FOMC, the Records of Policy Actions included only a paragraph or two of background or reasoning behind each action and were published only in the Board's Annual Report. The length of these records grew over time, reaching an average of about five pages per meeting by the mid-1960s and over 15 pages by the early 1990s. The timeliness of the release of these records was also improved. In 1967 the release schedule was changed so that each meeting's Record of Policy Actions would be released 90 days after the meeting instead of being released only in the Annual Report. In 1975 the 90-day lag was reduced to 45 days. In 1976, the Committee sped up release further by setting the publication date for each record a few days after the subsequent meeting (a reduction from 45 days to about 30 days at that time). As the frequency of meetings changed from monthly to eight meetings a year, though, the 'post-subsequent-meeting' schedule pushed the publication lag back up a bit.
Background on the Minutes of Actions
In the context of the Freedom of Information Act, the FOMC began releasing more information about its proceedings. While Records of Policy Actions gave background for monetary policy decisions, they did not provide information on such things as who attended FOMC meetings and what topics, besides monetary policy, were discussed. The Minutes of Actions, first released in 1967, were designed to provide this information. They were made available to the public on the same schedule as the Record of Policy Actions.
From 1936 through May 1967, the FOMC maintained for its own use extensive "minutes," which were detailed records of attendance, discussions, and decisions at its meetings. From 1936 through 1955, the minutes covered the meetings of the full Committee as well as the meetings of the Executive Committee, which met frequently to discuss implementation of the decisions of the full Committee. (The Executive Committee was discontinued after 1955.) These minutes (now referred to as the "historical minutes") remained confidential until the Committee began releasing them with about a five year lag in 1964. In 1967, the minutes were separated into the Memorandum of Discussion, which contained the detailed description of discussions, and the Minutes of Actions, which contained the attendance and a brief description of the actions taken.
Memoranda of Discussion
From June 1967 to March 1976, the Memorandum of Discussion served as the most detailed account of the discussion at each FOMC meeting. While Records of Policy Actions and Minutes of Actions were released during this period after 90 days, the more internally focused Memoranda of Discussion were made public with a lag of about five years. In May 1976, after extending the coverage of the Record of Policy Actions and expediting its release, the Committee discontinued production of the Memoranda of Discussion.
To learn more about the history of FOMC meeting-related publications, see "Background on FOMC Meeting Minutes." Transcripts, Bluebooks, Greenbooks, and agendas of FOMC meetings are made available to the public through this website with about a five-year lag. To request access to pre-1978 FOMC material, including Bluebooks and Greenbooks, please contact the FOMC FOIA Center.
The Beige Book, known as such originally for its beige cover, is officially entitled "Summary of Commentary on Current Economic Conditions by Federal Reserve District." It is produced by Reserve Bank staff and released to the public approximately two weeks prior to each regularly scheduled FOMC meeting.
Background on the Beige Book
The Beige Book, first published in June 1983, is based on information gathered by Reserve Bank staff over the course of several weeks. Each Federal Reserve Bank collects anecdotal information on current economic conditions in its District through reports from Bank and Branch directors and interviews with key business contacts, economists, market experts, and other sources. In addition to summaries of this information organized by District, the Beige Book presents a national summary of the information. The so-called Redbook (see description below), which was first produced in 1970, was the precursor to the Beige Book.
The Redbook, officially entitled, "Current Economic Comment by District," was created in May 1970 to provide a qualitative view of economic developments in each Federal Reserve District. Because the Redbook contained confidential information, it was an internal document circulated to only a limited number of Board and Reserve Bank staff members. In an effort to make the substance of the material in the Redbook more widely available, in June 1983 the Redbook was reformulated into the Beige Book (see description above), which is released to the public ahead of each regularly scheduled FOMC meeting.