The Federal Reserve said the economy is still growing modestly and unemployment remains elevated as it maintains $40 billion in monthly purchases of mortgage-backed securities aimed at spurring the three-year expansion.
“Growth in employment has been slow,” the Federal Open Market Committee said today at the conclusion of a two-day meeting in Washington. “Household spending has advanced a bit more quickly.”
Still, Bernanke said in a Sept. 13 press conference after announcing QE3 that Fed officials would be looking for labor-market improvement that persists over a sustained period.
At the same time, exports and business investment are cooling as global demand slows and companies hold back in the face of the so-called fiscal cliff, the $607 billion of tax increases and spending cuts due to take effect early next year unless Congress acts.
Of the 187 companies in the S&P 500 that reported results, 60 percent missed analysts’ revenue estimates, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.