Guide to changes in the Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy

In the revised Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy shown below, bold red text shows additions and struck-through text shows deletions relative to the statement the Committee issued on January 29, 2019. Note that the discussion of the employment and inflation goals have been separated into two paragraphs and their order reversed relative to the January 2019 statement. To improve readability, these changes are not marked with bold red text or struck-through text.

Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy
Adopted effective January 24, 2012; as amended effective January 29, 2019 August 27, 2020

1. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is firmly committed to fulfilling its statutory mandate from the Congress of promoting maximum employment, stable prices, and moderate long-term interest rates. The Committee seeks to explain its monetary policy decisions to the public as clearly as possible. Such clarity facilitates well-informed decisionmaking by households and businesses, reduces economic and financial uncertainty, increases the effectiveness of monetary policy, and enhances transparency and accountability, which are essential in a democratic society.

2. Employment, inflation, employment, and long-term interest rates fluctuate over time in response to economic and financial disturbances. Monetary policy plays an important role in stabilizing the economy in response to these disturbances. The Committee’s primary means of adjusting the stance of monetary policy is through changes in the target range for the federal funds rate. The Committee judges that the level of the federal funds rate consistent with maximum employment and price stability over the longer run has declined relative to its historical average. Therefore, the federal funds rate is likely to be constrained by its effective lower bound more frequently than in the past. Owing in part to the proximity of interest rates to the effective lower bound, the Committee judges that downward risks to employment and inflation have increased.What changes in the economy do the revisions to the Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy reflect? The Committee is prepared to use its full range of tools to achieve its maximum employment and price stability goals.What other tools besides changing the level of the federal funds rate does the Federal Reserve have to achieve its maximum employment and price stability objectives? Moreover, monetary policy actions tend to influence economic activity and prices with a lag. Therefore, the Committee’s policy decisions reflect its longer-run goals, its medium-term outlook, and its assessments of the balance of risks, including risks to the financial system that could impede the attainment of the Committee’s goals.

3. The maximum level of employment is a broad-based and inclusive goal that is not directly measurable and changes over time owingWhy does the new Statement on Longer-Run Goals and Monetary Policy Strategy emphasize that maximum employment is a broad-based and inclusive goal? largely determined by to nonmonetary factors that affect the structure and dynamics of the labor market. These factors may change over time and may not be directly measurable. Consequently, it would not be appropriate to specify a fixed goal for employment; rather, the Committee’s policy decisions must be informed by assessments of the shortfalls of employment from itsHow has the review altered how the Federal Reserve will pursue its maximum employment objective? maximum level of employment, recognizing that such assessments are necessarily uncertain and subject to revision. The Committee considers a wide range of indicators in making these assessments. Information about Committee participants’ estimates of the longer-run normal rates of output growth and unemployment is published four times per year in the FOMC’s Summary of Economic Projections. For example, in the most recent projections, the median of FOMC participants’ estimates of the longer-run normal rate of unemployment was 4.4 percent.

4. The inflation rate over the longer run is primarily determined by monetary policy, and hence the Committee has the ability to specify a longer-run goal for inflation. The Committee reaffirms its judgment that inflation at the rate of 2 percent, as measured by the annual change in the price index for personal consumption expenditures, is most consistent over the longer run with the Federal Reserve’s statutory mandate. The Committee would be concerned if inflation were running persistently above or below this objective. Communicating this symmetric inflation goal clearly to the public helps keep judges that longer-term inflation expectations firmly that are well anchored, thereby at 2 percent fostering price stability and moderate long-term interest rates and enhancing enhance the Committee’s ability to promote maximum employment in the face of significant economic disturbances. In order to anchor longer-term inflation expectations at this level, the Committee seeks to achieve inflation that averages 2 percent over time, and therefore judges that, following periods when inflation has been running persistently below 2 percent, appropriate monetary policy will likely aim to achieve inflation moderately above 2 percent for some time.Has the Federal Reserve's inflation objective changed? Why is the Federal Reserve interested in achieving inflation that averages 2 percent over time?

5. Monetary policy actions tend to influence economic activity, employment, and prices with a lag. In setting monetary policy, the Committee seeks over time to mitigate shortfalls of employment from the Committee's assessment of its maximum level and deviations of inflation from its longer-run goal and deviations of employment from the Committee’s assessments of its maximum level. Moreover, sustainably achieving maximum employment and price stability depends on a stable financial system. Therefore, the Committee’s policy decisions reflect its longer-run goals, its medium-term outlook, and its assessments of the balance of risks, including risks to the financial system that could impede the attainment of the Committee’s goals.What role does monetary policy play in achieving a stable financial system?

6. These The Committee’s employment and inflation objectives are generally complementary. However, under circumstances in which the Committee judges that the objectives are not complementary, it follows a balanced approach in promoting them, taking takes into account the magnitude of the employment shortfalls and inflation deviations and the potentially different time horizons over which employment and inflation are projected to return to levels judged consistent with its mandate.

7. The Committee intends to reaffirm review these principles and to make adjustments as appropriate at its annual organizational meeting each January, and to undertake roughly every five years a thorough public review of its monetary policy strategy, tools, and communication practicesWill the Federal Reserve be conducting broad reviews of its policy strategy in the future?.

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Last Update: August 27, 2020