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Powell on economic outlook
In testimony before the Joint Economic Committee of Congress, Federal Reserve Board Chair Jerome Powell discussed the outlook for the economy and monetary policy. He noted the U.S. economy is now in the 11th year of the current expansion, and the baseline outlook remains favorable. Gross domestic product increased at an annual pace of 1.9 percent in the third quarter of this year after rising at around a 2.5 percent rate last year and in the first half of this year, and the unemployment rate was 3.6 percent in October—near a half-century low. Regarding monetary policy, he observed that, over the past year, weakness in global growth, trade developments, and muted inflation pressures have prompted the Federal Open Market Committee to adjust its assessment of the appropriate path of interest rates. Since July, the Committee has lowered the target range for the federal funds rate by 3/4 percentage point. These policy adjustments put the current target range at 1-1/2 to 1‑3/4 percent.