0.75 is the new 0.25 for the Fed.
The Federal Open Market Committee raised interest rates by three-quarters of a percentage point on Wednesday, marking the third straight hike. The increase is three times larger than the Fed's typical increase and extends a streak of aggressive hiking that aims to cool demand throughout the economy.
The committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 3 to 3.25 percent and expects to increase it in the future. The hike was approved by all 12 members of the committee.
The range of the benchmark rate is higher than it has been in years. The Wednesday hike lifts the rate well above 2.5%, a threshold most officials regard as the neutral rate, because it's expected to neither stimulates nor restrain the economy. The economy is strong enough to endure some restriction without sliding into a recession.
An updated set of members' economic projections was also released. Policymakers expected the unemployment rate to rise to 3.8% in 2022. The projected rate in the next two years was up from the previous estimates. The June projections show that the Fed's hiking cycle will lead to a lot of layoffs over the next few years.
Growth is expected to come in lower than they had anticipated. The gross domestic product is expected to increase by just 2% over the course of the next four years. Next year's growth is expected to be 1.2%, but it's lower than the previous projections of 1.7% and 1.9%.
Projections for the Fed's benchmark rate indicate several more larger-than- usual hikes are on the docket for the committee's last two meetings of the year. Projections show the rate will hit 4.4% by the end of 2022, implying a three-quarter point hike in November and a half point increase in December. The rate is expected to rise to 4.6% by the year 2023, then fall to 3.9% by the year 2024.
The Fed is in a difficult situation. The central bank uses higher interest rates to fight inflation. It can take about a year for the effects of a rate hike to be felt.
As rate hikes slow, inflation remains elevated. Last week's data showed that prices are still climbing, with a 8.3% increase in the year through August. The price-growth problem isn't fading as quickly as experts hoped, despite the readings coming in above forecasts.
Lifting rates have adverse effects already. Borrowing costs have gone up throughout the year. Financial strain has been placed on many households.
It has slowed the economy. Job creation has slowed down due to higher debt costs, and companies are reining in their hiring plans. The labor market is expected to weaken as the Fed raises rates through the rest of the year.
Concerns that the Fed is steering the US into a growth recession have been heightened by expectations of slower growth. The term describes a period of below average growth, rising unemployment, and slowing inflation, which is not ideal for the central bank to solve the inflation problem. Millions of Americans would lose their jobs if the economy were to go into a growth recession. Wage increases would slow dramatically and households would have to contend with higher borrowing costs.
Powell said in August that the fight against inflation would bring some pain to households and businesses. He said that the damage will be worth it if the inflation is sustainable.