DEFINITION of 'Council of Economic Advisors - CEA'

A panel of three noted economists who advise the president of the United States on macroeconomic matters. The council consists of a chairman and two other members, all of whom are appointed by the president and approved by the Senate. Its primary goals are interpreting macroeconomic data, formulating economic policy for the White House, and overseeing other parts of the government to ensure all departments promote the current economic agenda.

Past chairman of the CEA include Alan Greenspan, and current Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke.

BREAKING DOWN 'Council of Economic Advisors - CEA'

The CEA produces an annual report, "The Economic Report of the President", which summarizes its views on the past year, and offers a forecast for the coming year. While the intellectual weight of the CEA always runs high, its message is still one directed by the President's agenda, so criticism of the report usually occurs after its February release.

The CEA was formed via the Employment Act of 1946, and has always promoted a Keynesian bent. Overarching goals include:

1) Low unemployment rates
2) Increased national production
3) Price stability (low inflation)
4) Proactive government intervention

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