Monetary policy report to the Congress
The year 2004 was marked by continued expansion in economic activity and appreciable gains in employment. With fiscal policy stimulative, monetary policy accommodative, and financial conditions favorable, household spending remained buoyant and businesses increased investment in capital equipment and inventories, despite the restraint imposed by sizable increases in oil prices. Labor market conditions improved significantly, albeit at an uneven pace, and productivity rose notably further. Consumer price inflation moved higher with the surge in energy prices, but core consumer price inflation (that is, excluding food and energy) remained well contained, and measures of expected inflation over longer horizons held steady or edged lower. ; Although economic activity had increased substantially in 2003, the expansion nevertheless appeared somewhat tentative as 2004 opened, in large measure because businesses still seemed to be reluctant to boost hiring. Over the course of the spring, however, it became clearer that the expansion was solidifying. With slack in labor and product markets somewhat diminished, the Federal Open Market Committee at its June meeting began to reduce the substantial degree of monetary accommodation that was in place. The gradual removal of monetary policy stimulus continued in the second half of the year as the economy expanded at a healthy clip on balance. The fundamental factors underlying the continued strength of the economy last year should carry forward into 2005 and 2006, promoting both healthy expansion of activity and low inflation.
Volume (Year): (2005)
Issue (Month): Spr ()
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