Fed lowers expectations for economic growth

The Fed's progress towards achieving its dual mandate of maximizing employment while minimizing inflation was described as "disappointingly slow" by the officials attending the meeting, with the added expectation that immediate future growth would be similarly lethargic. Although skeptical the struggling economy would slide back into another recession, the Fed officials noted that the persistently slow growth could leave the recovering economy susceptible to "negative shocks."

The minutes reveal that the Fed officials also met via video conference on Oct. 15 to discuss issues tied to its monetary policy, including exploring alternative ways to explain its actions. There, officials agreed that better public understanding of the Fed's goals could improve macroeconomic outcomes.

The minutes also shine a light on the Fed's decision to undergo a second round of quantitative easing — buying $600 billion of long-term Treasury bonds in an effort to boost lending. The decision was backed by all but one member of the board.

Thomas Hoenig, the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, was the lone dissenter. Hoenig opposed the QE2 because he believed it would do little to accelerate economic recovery and the risks outweighed the benefits, according to the minutes.