When and how often does the FOMC meet?

The FOMC meeting statement, FOMC projections and FOMC meeting materials are released on the second and final day of the two-day meeting at 2PM ET. The FOMC Press Conference is then subsequently held at 230PM ET on the second day (Always a Wednesday!)

Minutes are then released 21 days (or three weeks after) the second day of the meeting at 2PM ET. These are what I know to be constants. That’s where the challenge comes in trying to understand when the meetings are…Some variables…

There are eight meetings each year, so they aren’t each month, or at least there are eight official meetings. Sometimes a meeting will be skipped. It doesn’t happen often but it does happen. Sometimes there are extra meetings. There are meetings held every seven weeks or so (FOMC’s own website says every 6 weeks approximately but I have found myself, that often it is as much as 9 weeks, though 6 is the number that seems to appear the most when I dug through 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 this morning, looking at how many weeks were between each meeting and/or what week of the month they fell on.

There are 52 weeks in a year. Divide that by 8 meetings and they occur every 6.5 weeks. The FOMC (Not the banks) schedules out their own meeting calendar each year.

Jan to Mar: 7 Week Delta

Mar to April:7 Week Delta

Apr to May: (Or June) 7 Week Delta

June to July: (or August some years) 6 Week Delta

July to Sep: 7 to 9 Week Delta

Sep to Nov: 7 Week Delta

Nov to Dec: 6 Week Delta

January: Always have a January Meeting and it always starts on the last Tuesday of the month. I say Tuesday because, while normally it ends on the last Wednesday, the year after a leap year, like in 2017 which followed 2016, it fell on Jan 31/Feb 1st.

March: The March meeting always falls on the third week of the month.

April: The only time we have April meetings is when April has 5 Wednesdays in it. This normally doesn’t happen.

May: The meeting always ends on the first Wednesday of May except in cases where we did have an April meeting.

June: Third week of the month except for in 2020 when the Covid-19 Crisis required extra meetings early in the year in March when we were in full-blown crisis mode with the money printer went “brrrrr”

July: Always starts on the last Tuesday of July so in some rare cases it will end on the first day of August.

August: We never have meetings in August September: Starts on the Third Tuesday of the month.

October/November: I pair these together as the meeting will typically either start at the very end October of very beginning of November.

December: Starts on the Second Tuesday of the Month

I dug through the last 32 meetings hoping to find a pattern that I could repeat for you all to have, and while I did find a lot of patterns, there were just enough inconsistencies that we can’t rely on them, so we have to conclude that it is simply a calendar written out by humans that changes yearly. This bothers me as I love to identify patterns, not just in charts obviously, and I will spend hours trying to identify them.

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