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FOMC

 

What is the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC)and when does it meet?

The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) is the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve System. The FOMC is composed of 12 members--the seven members of the Board of Governors and five of the 12 Reserve Bank presidents. The Chairman of the Board of Governors serves as the Chairman of the FOMC; the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York is a permanent member of the Committee and serves as the Vice Chairman of the Committee. The presidents of the other Reserve Banks fill the remaining four voting positions on the FOMC on a rotating basis. All of the Reserve Bank presidents, including those who are not voting members, attend FOMC meetings, participate in the discussions, and contribute to the assessment of the economy and policy options. See the current list of FOMC members.

The FOMC schedules eight meetings per year, one about every six weeks or so. The Committee may also hold unscheduled meetings as necessary to review economic and financial developments. The FOMC issues a policy statement following each regular meeting that summarizes the Committee's economic outlook and the policy decision at that meeting. Four times per year the Chairman holds a press briefing after the FOMC meeting to present the FOMC's current economic projections and to provide additional context for the FOMC's policy decisions. A full set of minutes for each FOMC meeting is published three weeks after the conclusion of each regular meeting, and complete transcripts of FOMC meetings are published five years after the meeting.

By law, the Federal Reserve conducts monetary policy to achieve its macroeconomic objectives of maximum employment and stable prices. Usually, the FOMC conducts policy by adjusting the level of short-term interest rates in response to changes in the economic outlook. From 2008 until 2011, the FOMC also used large-scale purchases of Treasury securities and securities that were issued or guaranteed by federal agencies as a policy tool in an effort to lower longer-term interest rates and thereby improve financial conditions and so support the economic recovery.

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Who are the members of the FOMC?
The Federal Open Market Committee consists of twelve voting members: the seven members of the Board of Governors and five of the twelve Federal Reserve Bank presidents. The president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York serves on a continuous basis; the presidents of the other Reserve Banks serve one-year terms on a rotating basis beginning on January 1 of each year. The rotating seats are filled from the following four groups of Banks, one Bank president from each group: Boston, Philadelphia, and Richmond; Cleveland and Chicago; Atlanta, St. Louis, and Dallas; and Minneapolis, Kansas City, and San Francisco.

All of the Reserve Bank presidents, even those who are not currently voting members, attend FOMC meetings, participate in the discussions, and contribute to the assessment of the economy and of policy options.

Current members of the FOMC.


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When is the next FOMC meeting?
The calendar for Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings is available on the Board of Governors' web site.

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Why are some FOMC meetings scheduled for two days?
The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meets eight times a year, usually for one day. The meetings in January-February and June-July are two-day meetings. At the two-day meetings, the FOMC members and the nonvoting Federal Reserve Bank presidents provide individual, longer-run projections of the real and nominal growth of the gross domestic product, the rate of unemployment, and the rate of inflation for the current year and the year ahead. The central tendencies of the projections are included in the Monetary Policy Report delivered to Congress each February and July. At the two- day meetings, the FOMC also considers longer-run strategies for monetary policy and, at the first meeting of the year, deals with administrative matters.

Does the FOMC make public its objectives for monetary policy?
Yes, a statement is released at 2:15 p.m. on the final day of each Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting. Statements can be found at http://www.federalreserve.gov/monetarypolicy /fomccalendars.htm.

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Are minutes and transcripts of FOMC meetings available?
Yes. The minutes of each FOMC meeting are released to the public three weeks after the date of the policy decision. Transcripts of meetings for an entire year are released to the public with a five-year lag.

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