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A Little About Fed's "Extended Period" Language
May 26th, 2011 12:14 PM

Catherine Rampell at the NY Times Economix asks: How Long Is an "Extended Period"?

Short answer: Longer than many analysts expect.

First we can compare to the "considerable period" language in 2003:

  • June 25, 2003: Lowered Rate to 1%, Unemployment Rate peaked at 6.3%

  • August 12, 2003: “the Committee believes that policy accommodation can be maintained for a considerable period.” Unemployment rate at 6.1%

  • December 9, 2003: Last statement using the phrase "considerable period". Unemployment rate at 5.7%

  • January 28, 2004: the Committee believes that it can be patient in removing its policy accommodation. Unemployment Rate 5.7%

  • May 4, 2004: “the Committee believes that policy accommodation can be removed at a pace that is likely to be measured.” Unemployment Rate 5.6%

  • June 30, 2004: FOMC raised the Fed Funds rate 25 bps. Unemployment Rate 5.6%
  • So "extended period" is probably 6+ months after the language changes - the next meeting is June 23rd and 24th, so the earliest rate hike would probably be in December (barring a significant pickup in inflation or rapid decline in unemployment).

    Last September I wrote: Fed Funds and Unemployment Rate. Here is an excerpt with an updated graph:

    Fed Funds and UnemploymentThis graph shows the effective Fed Funds rate (Source: Federal Reserve) and the unemployment rate (source: BLS)

    In the early '90s, the Fed waited more than a 1 1/2 years after the unemployment rate peaked before raising rates. The unemployment rate had fallen from 7.8% to 6.6% before the Fed raised rates.

    Following the peak unemployment rate in 2003 of 6.3%, the Fed waited a year to raise rates. The unemployment rate had fallen to 5.6% in June 2004 before the Fed raised rates.

    Although there are other considerations, if we assume the unemployment rate peaked in October 2009 - and add 18 months - then the Fed would probably wait at least until early to mid 2011 to raise rates (at the earliest). My guess is the Fed will probably wait until the unemployment rate is closer to 9% before removing the "extended period" language, and it is unlikely they will raise rates until the unemployment rate is below 8%.


    Posted in:General
    Posted by Narbik Karamian on May 26th, 2011 12:14 PMPost a Comment

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