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The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

A look at how the Fed's views have changed on the economy, bond purchases

A comparison of the Federal Reserve's statements from its two-day meeting that ended Wednesday and its meeting Dec. 17-18:

BOND PURCHASES:

January: Fed policymakers "decided to make a further measured reduction in the pace of its asset purchases," to $65 billion a month.

December: Fed policymakers announced the first cut to their $85 billion monthly bond purchase program, to $75 billion: "In light of the cumulative progress toward maximum employment and the improvement in the outlook for labour market conditions, (policymakers) decided to modestly reduce the pace of its asset purchases."

ECONOMY:

Now: The Fed has upgraded its assessment a bit: "Growth in economic activity picked up in recent quarters. ...Household spending and business fixed investment advanced more quickly in recent months."

Then: "Economic activity is expanding at a moderate pace. ...Household spending and business fixed investment advanced."

JOBS:

Now: Regarding hiring, the Fed is less positive than a month ago: "Labor market indicators were mixed but on balance showed further improvement."

Then: "Labor market conditions have shown further improvement."

GOVERNMENT SPENDING CUTS:

Now: Fed policymakers are more confident that the impact of spending cuts and tax increases is easing: "Fiscal policy is restraining economic growth, although the extent of restraint is diminishing."

Then: "Fiscal policy is restraining economic growth, although the extent of restraint may be diminishing."

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