Real gross domestic product growth is projected to be substantial this year and the unemployment rate is expected to decline markedly, according to members of the Federal Open Market Committee. In minutes from the group’s March 16-17 meeting, members noted that GDP growth appeared to be picking up at the beginning of 2021 at a rate higher than expected. Members attributed the growth in GDP to faster-than-anticipated easing in social distancing and the fiscal support package enacted in late December.
Despite the projected growth in GDP, FOMC members said that the pandemic and the measures undertaken to contain its spread continue to affect economic activity in the United States and abroad. The uncertain course of the pandemic, especially the rise of more-contagious strains of the coronavirus in the U.S., was seen as “tilting the risks to the economic outlook to the downside.”