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Monetary policy report to the Congress

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    The economic expansion in the United States gathered strength during 2003 while price inflation remained quite low. At the beginning of the year, uncertainties about the economic outlook and about the prospects of war in Iraq apparently weighed on spending decisions and extended the period of subpar economic performance that had begun more than two years earlier. Over the second half of the year, in the absence of new shocks to economic activity and with gathering confidence in the durability of the economic expansion, the stimulus from monetary and fiscal policies showed through more readily in an improvement in domestic demand. Spurred by the global recovery in the high-tech sector and by a pickup in economic activity abroad, U.S. exports also posted solid increases in the second half of the year. ; Still, slack in resource utilization remained substantial, unit labor costs continued to decline as productivity surged, and core inflation moved lower. The performance of the economy last year further bolstered the case that the faster rate of increase in productivity, which began to emerge in the late 1990s, would persist. The combination of that favorable productivity trend and stimulative macroeconomic policies is likely to sustain robust economic expansion and low inflation in 2004.

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    File URL: http://www.federalreserve.gov/pubs/bulletin/2004/spring04_mpr.pdf
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    Article provided by Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.) in its journal Federal Reserve Bulletin.

    Volume (Year): (2004)
    Issue (Month): Spr ()
    Pages: 125-152

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    Handle: RePEc:fip:fedgrb:y:2004:i:spr:p:125-152:n:v.90no.2
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