- The housing sector remains "depressed"
- Labor conditions have "slowed in recent months"
- Household spending is "rising at a somewhat slower pace" than earlier this year
The Federal Open Market Committee voted to leave the Fed Funds Rate unchanged within its current target range of 0.000-0.250 percent Wednesday. For the fifth consecutive meeting, the Fed Funds Rate vote was nearly unanimous. Just one FOMC member, Richmond Federal Reserve President Jeffrey Lacker, dissented in the 9-1 vote. The Fed Funds Rate has been near zero percent since December 2008. In its press release, the Federal Reserve noted that the U.S. economy has been "expanding moderately" this year. Beyond the next few quarters, the Fed expects growth to "pick up very gradually". In addition, the Fed re-acknowledged that "strains in global financial markets" continue to pose "significant downside risks" to the U.S. economic outlook. This statement is a repeat from the FOMC's April press release and is in reference to the sovereign debt concerns of Greece, Spain and Italy, plus the potential for a broader European economic slowdown. The Fed's statement also included the following economic observations :