Fed keeps key rate unchanged while signaling future hikes
By MARTIN CRUTSINGER
AP Economics Writer
Wednesday, August 1
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve on Wednesday left its benchmark interest rate unchanged while signaling further gradual rate hikes in the months ahead as long as the economy stays healthy.
The Fed’s widely expected decision left the central bank’s key short-term rate at 1.75 percent to 2 percent — the level hit in June when the Fed boosted the rate for a second time this year.
The Fed projected in June four rate hikes this year, up from three in 2017. Private economists expect the next hike to occur at the September meeting with a fourth rate hike expected in December.
In a brief policy statement, the Fed noted a strengthening labor market, economic activity growing at “a strong rate,” and inflation that’s reached the central bank’s target of 2 percent annual gains.
While officials saw the economic risks as roughly balanced, there was no mention in the statement of what many economists see as one of the biggest risks at the moment: rising tariffs on billions of dollars of U.S. exports and imports that have been imposed as a result of President Donald Trump’s new get-tough approach on trade.
The Fed statement did not make any mention of the rising trade tensions or of recent criticisms Trump has lodged against the Fed’s continued rate hikes. Instead, it was decidedly upbeat about the economy, using the word “strong” three times in the opening paragraph to describe various developments.
The Fed’s decision was approved on a unanimous 8-0 vote. It was little surprise, given that this meeting followed a June session where the Fed took a number of steps including raising rates by another quarter-point and changing its projection for hikes this year from three to four.
The March and June rate hikes followed three hikes in 2017 and one each in 2015 and 2016. The Fed’s key policy rate is still at a relatively low level. But it’s up from the record low near zero where it remained for seven years as the central bank worked to use ultra-low interest rates to lift the economy out of the Great Recession.
The string of quarter-point rate hikes is intended to prevent the economy from overheating and pushing inflation from climbing too high. But higher rates make borrowing costlier for consumers and businesses and can weigh down stock prices. Trump has made clear he has little patience for the Fed’s efforts to restrain the economy to control inflation.
“Tightening now hurts all that we have done,” Trump tweeted last month, a day after he said in a television interview that he was “not happy” with the Fed’s rate increases.
Over the past quarter-century, presidents have maintained silence in public about Fed actions, believing that lodging complaints would be counter-productive. That’s because it could produce even faster rate hikes if the central bank feels the need to convince financial markets that it will not yield to political pressure and allow inflation to rise to worrisome levels.
At the moment, economic growth is strong, rising at an annual rate of 4.1 percent in the April-June quarter, the best showing in nearly four years. Unemployment is at a low 4 percent, and some analysts believe it will fall further when the government releases the July figures on Friday.
But there are worries as well, led by fears of what a Trump-led trade war might do to growth in the United States and around the world.
Many analysts believe that the possible harm from rising tariffs was a key discussion topic this week. While trade was not mentioned in the statement, it likely will show up in the minutes of the Fed’s discussion which will be released in three weeks.
Delivering the Fed’s semi-annual report to Congress last month, Powell refrained from criticizing the Trump administration’s effort to use the threat of tariffs to try to lower trade barriers. But Powell noted that the Fed was hearing a “rising chorus of concern” from business contacts about the harm a trade war could cause.
Powell hasn’t publicly addressed Trump’s criticism of Fed rate hikes. But the chairman had previously said in a radio interview that the central bank has long operated independently in making interest-rate decisions based on what was best for the economy and not in response to political pressure.
Ohio Department of Aging works with area agencies on aging and Walgreens Pharmacy to link elders to information and support to help prevent falls
August 1, 2018
1 in 3 older Ohioans fall each year; pharmacy reviews, local support can reduce the risk
Columbus, Ohio – On Tuesday, Aug. 7, Walgreens drug stores throughout Ohio, in collaboration with the Ohio Department of Aging and Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging, will help educate older customers about how to reduce their risk of injury from falls.
In addition to encouraging individuals to talk to pharmacy staff about fall injury prevention, Walgreens stores will have informational materials available, including a CDC checklist that can help the user measure their fall risk. The tool asks questions such as whether they have fallen in the past year or take medications that make them feel light-headed or drowsy. Pharmacy staff will also have information about local aging services and support available through the Ohio’s 12 area agencies on aging.
“Older adult falls are an epidemic in Ohio,” said Beverley L. Laubert, director of the Ohio Department of Aging. “We are proud to foster local relationships that will connect elders to services and supports that can help them remain independent and engaged in their communities.”
“As we age, many of the medicines we take to stay healthy may increase our risk of falling,” said Alexandra Broadus, Walgreens regional health care director for the region including Ohio. “Pharmacy staff are uniquely positioned to identify some of the key risk factors for falls, and thanks to our collaboration with the Department of Aging and Ohio’s 12 area agencies on aging, our staff will be able to link individuals to other available assistance.”
“A single fall can change the life of not only the individual, but also his or her family and friends,” added Larke Recchie, CEO of the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging. “Area agencies are excited to partner with Walgreens to provide help before a fall happens so that older Ohioans can maintain a high quality of life.”
Customers who are Walgreens Balance Rewards members will receive 1,000 bonus points if they ask a pharmacy staff member about fall injury prevention.* Additionally, members who are age 55 and older or AARP members can receive 20 percent off of eligible, regular-priced merchandise that day.** A Balance Rewards customer loyalty program membership is free and can be obtained at checkout. Walgreens, the Ohio Department of Aging and the Ohio Association of Area Agencies on Aging have been working together to strengthen local partnerships between pharmacy staff and area agencies on aging. Area agency staff have helped educate pharmacists about how and when to make referrals. Supports available through the area agencies include falls prevention workshops, home delivered meals, minor home modifications, transportation services, long-term care consultations and more.
About ODA – The Ohio Department of Aging serves and advocates for the needs of Ohioans age 60 and older, as well as their families, caregivers and communities. Programs include home and community based long-term supports and services, as well as initiatives to promote health and wellness throughout the lifespan. Visit www.aging.ohio.gov.
*Points incentive available to all Walgreens Balance Rewards members. Must present Balance Rewards card in pharmacy to redeem offer. No purchase necessary. Limit one redemption per card member. Points good on next purchase.
Restrictions apply. Due to state and federal laws, points cannot be earned or redeemed on some items. Complete details at Walgreens.com/Balance.
** Offer valid only in store with Balance Rewards card to members 55 years of age or older and all AARP members. Proof of age may be required. Discount not valid on alcohol, dairy, tobacco, stamps, prepaid cards, newspapers, magazines, money orders/transfers, transportation passes, lottery tickets, charitable donations, pseudoephedrine or ephedrine products, clinic services, prescriptions, pharmacy items or services, sales tax, Prescription Savings Club membership fee, and items or services submitted to insurance for reimbursement or where otherwise limited by law. Offer is not combinable with buy 1 get 1 free, buy 1 get 1 50% off or buy 2 get 3rd FREE. Offer does not apply to bulk orders, back-ordered items and out-of-stock items.
AARP receives a royalty for the use of its intellectual property. Amounts paid are used for the general purposes of AARP and its members. Complete details in store or at Walgreens.com/SeniorDay.
Macy’s Hosts The Big Give Back in Support of Columbus and Other Local Communities Nationwide
Today, Macy’s launched Make Good Cents for Your Community – Macy’s new, two-week movement in support of customers, colleagues and communities. From August 1–15, customers shopping at Macy’s Easton Town Center can choose to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar (up to $.99) and support one of the following three charities: Nellie’s Champions for Kids, Directions for Youth & Families, and Unity House.
100 percent of customer round-up donations will directly benefit one of the three charities listed – customers will be prompted to select their desired charity at checkout. The charity that raises the most funds at each store will receive a matched donation from Macy’s, up to $1,000.
Beginning August 1, customers across the country can help raise funds in support of local charities
WHAT: At Macy’s, we know that being good neighbors means showing up when our communities need our help, which is why beginning August 1, we’re launching Make Good Cents for Your Community – Macy’s new, two-week movement in support of customers, colleagues and communities. The nationwide effort is part of Macy’s larger month-long effort, The Big Give Back, activated locally with individual charities at Macy’s stores across the country. The new effort also empowers Macy’s colleagues to contribute through several donation channels.
From August 1 – 15, customers shopping at Macy’s Easton Town Center can choose to round up their purchase to the nearest dollar (up to $.99) and support one of the following three charities: Nellie’s Champions for Kids, Directions for Youth & Families, and Unity House.
MORE: 100 percent of customer round-up donations will directly benefit one of the three charities listed – customers will be prompted to select their desired charity at checkout. The charity that raises the most funds at each store will receive a matched donation from Macy’s, up to $1,000. In the Columbus community, Nellie’s Champions for Kids, Directions for Youth & Families, and Unity House will benefit from the local Make Good Cents for Your Community campaign at Macy’s Easton Town Center.
For more information on The Big Give Back and other giving and volunteerism efforts, visit macys.com/makegoodcents. Customers will be able to look up their local store and see the benefiting charities.
WHEN: August 1–15, 2018
WHERE: Macy’s Easton Town Center
4141 Easton Loop East, Columbus, OH, 43219