The Federal Reserve will release minutes from its March 13 decision at 2 PM EST today.While the decision met expectations and surprised no one, the minutes could be a lot more interesting, as we delve deeper into the Committee’s current prognosis for economic growth.
In a note out this morning, Goldman analysts noted that they will be looking for explanations as to why income and employment growth has been exceeding real GDP growth—in particular, violations of Okun’s law.
So far, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke has said that he believes that employment is rising rapidly but belatedly as companies begin to feel the effects of the recovery; signaling that this growth is not likely sustainable at this level, but is nonetheless a step in the right direction. However, other Committee members could see the pace of employment growth differently.
At the start of this year, the vast majority of Wall Street analysts foresaw another round of quantitative easing ahead around mid-2012, but they have pushed these expectations farther back as economic indicators turned positive.
The Committee’s analysis of the recovery’s sustainability will be crucial to determining whether or not we’ll see another round of QE. More easing is likely if we continue to hear the committee complain about the “frustratingly slow” pace of economic growth and significant global headwinds—particularly from Europe. Then again, if Committee members appear convinced that recent data point to a sustainable and healthy recovery, hopes for more QE anytime soon could go out the window.