WaPo Item on Fed's Economic Downgrade Leaves Out Tepid Projected Growth

November 3rd, 2011 10:13 PM

At the Washington Post's "with Bloomberg" Business section, the self-described locale "Where Washington and Business Intersect," a Wednesday item by Neil Irwin ("Fed downgrades growth forecasts, sees high unemployment for years ahead") told us that "The Federal Reserve sharply downgraded its projections for the U.S. economy," but never cited any projected growth numbers. Seriously.

Having learned what they are for 2011 and 2012 in the seventh and eighth paragraphs at an Associated Press item (well, at least they got to it, though it probably won't make it into many broadcasts of AP's content because of its placement), it's understandable why staunch defenders of Team Obama would resist doing so. After the jump, I'll take out the mystery by getting to the AP's numbers first:

Fed foresees far weaker growth than it had earlier

... The Fed now predicts the economy will grow no more than 1.7 percent for 2011. For 2012, it foresees growth of about 2.7 percent. Both forecasts are roughly a full percentage point lower than its June forecast.

The Fed sees unemployment averaging 8.6 percent by the end of next year. In June, it had predicted unemployment would drop next year to as low as 7.8 percent. The rate is now 9.1 percent.

To be clear, Irwin did specify the unemployment numbers, but said absolutely nothing about future economic growth:

The Federal Reserve sharply downgraded its projections for the U.S. economy Wednesday, warning that weak growth and high unemployment will be the norm for years.

The Fed expects that the unemployment rate will be around 8.6 percent at the end of next year, down only slightly from 9.1 percent today, and will still be between 6.8 percent and 7.7 percent in late 2014. In their June forecast, Fed officials said joblessness would come down faster, to around 8 percent by the end of 2012, when the next presidential election will take place.

Despite these projections, the Fed’s policymaking board declined during the two-day meeting that ended Wednesday to take any new action to boost growth, leaving ultra-low interest rates unchanged.

Leaders of the central bank are coming around to a view they had resisted: that the economy, weighed down by consumer debt and a depressed housing market, will not soon return to its old path of growth. The pace of economic growth the officials expect in 2012 is not high enough to put Americans back to work in large numbers.

... Economic growth picked up in the July-through-September months, to a 2.5 percent annual rate of growth.

Gee Neil, don't you think at least some of your readers of a story about projected economic growth would want to know the specifics? Truly, a weak writeup.

Cross-posted at BizzyBlog.com.