Fed predicts unemployment will fall to 9.3 percent by end of 2020

federal reserve building by Rafael Saldaña is licensed under Flickr CC BY 2.0
Federal Reserve officials expect the unemployment rate to remain above 9 percent until the end of 2020, with the economy shrinking by more than 6 percent in that time, according to projections released Wednesday.

The 17 members of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), which sets Fed interest rates, projected a median unemployment rate of 9.3 percent in 2020, falling to 6.5 percent in 2021 and 5.5 percent in 2022.

The unemployment rate was near a 50-year low of 3.5 percent in February before it spiked to 14.7 percent in April amid closures imposed to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. It fell to 13.3 percent in May.

The FOMC also projected the U.S. economy to shrink by a median of 6.5 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in 2020, recovering to a growth rate of 5 percent by 2021 and 3.5 percent by 2022.