Economy

Fed Sees Weak Economy All Over, Leaves Key Rate Alone

The Federal Reserve's top policymakers had one of their regular meetings Wednesday and, once again, they left a key interest rate at essentially zero.

And as they've done after past meetings, they released an official statement noting that while the economy was showing signs of life, the central bankers were troubled by the numerous indicators of weakness they were seeing.

A key excerpt from their statement:

Information received since the Federal Open Market Committee met in April suggests that the economic recovery is proceeding and that the labor market is improving gradually. Household spending is increasing but remains constrained by high unemployment, modest income growth, lower housing wealth, and tight credit. Business spending on equipment and software has risen significantly; however, investment in nonresidential structures continues to be weak and employers remain reluctant to add to payrolls. Housing starts remain at a depressed level. Financial conditions have become less supportive of economic growth on balance, largely reflecting developments abroad. Bank lending has continued to contract in recent months. Nonetheless, the Committee anticipates a gradual return to higher levels of resource utilization in a context of price stability, although the pace of economic recovery is likely to be moderate for a time.

Prices of energy and other commodities have declined somewhat in recent months, and underlying inflation has trended lower. With substantial resource slack continuing to restrain cost pressures and longer-term inflation expectations stable, inflation is likely to be subdued for some time.

One line that jumped out at some economists was the one about "developments abroad" hurting economic growth. That was an allusion to the European economic crisis which economists said they hadn't seen in past statements.

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