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A look at the Federal Open Market Committee meetings

You have likely heard or read about them in the news, but what goes on during the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) meetings? In this edition of Fed Facts, we will provide a brief overview of the FOMC and ways to stay up to date through post-meeting recaps and events.

What is the FOMC?

The FOMC is the Federal Reserve's monetary policymaking body. It is responsible for the formulation of policy designed to promote stable prices and economic growth. The 12 voting members of the FOMC consist of:

  • Seven members of the Board of Governors
  • President of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York
  • Presidents of four of the remaining 11 Reserve Banks, who serve on a rotating basis

FOMC meeting structure

The FOMC holds eight regularly scheduled meetings per year and other meetings as needed. The 2021 meeting calendar (Off-site) shows that the next meeting of the year is scheduled for April 27-28. At these meetings, the Committee:

  • Reviews economic and financial conditions
  • Determines the appropriate stance of monetary policy
  • Assesses the risks to its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth

FOMC meeting minutes and press conference recordings

Meeting minutes (Off-site) are released three weeks after each meeting and summarize the discussion pertaining to decisions made by the FOMC. You can also find a list of all attendees, a complete record of all policy actions taken and votes by individual members on policy actions.

The Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System also holds a press conference following each meeting to provide a summary of events and answer questions. Chair Jerome Powell’s March 16-17 press conference (Off-site) is available for viewing, along with a transcript (Off-site) of the conference.

Action Item:

You can review decades of historical minutes (Off-site) — all the way back to the first FOMC meeting in 1936 — on the Federal Reserve Board's website.