09/18/2013 02:01 EDT | Updated 11/18/2013 05:12 EST

Federal Reserve sketches a gloomier outlook for US economic growth for this year and next

WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve has a more downbeat outlook on the U.S. economy for 2013 and 2014 than it did three months ago.

The Fed predicts that the economy will grow just 2 per cent to 2.3 per cent this year, down from its previous forecast in June of 2.3 per cent to 2.6 per cent growth.

Next year's economic growth will be a barely healthy 3 per cent, the Fed predicts.

But the Fed's policymakers expect the unemployment rate to fall to 7.1 per cent to 7.3 per cent by the end of 2013, slightly below its June forecast of 7.2 per cent to 7.3 per cent. It predicts that unemployment will fall as low as 6.4 per cent next year, down from 6.5 per cent in its June forecast.

The unemployment rate is now 7.3 per cent.