The focus on jobs represents a historic shift for the central bank that began with the 2008 financial crisis and has intensified in the face of four years of middling economic growth. But how much influence the central bank wields over unemployment remains an open question: It cannot direct businesses to hire or inspire entrepreneurs to create jobs. Meanwhile, warnings have grown louder that the quest to bring down unemployment could have unintended consequences — including stoking inflation that a generation of central bankers worked to tame.
Yet there remains consensus inside the Fed that the gamble is worth it. There is even a sense that partisan gridlock on Capitol Hill means that the central bank alone is in a position to help put Americans back to work.
Chosen excerpts by Job Market Monitor
The decision was a testament to what former colleagues call Evans’s ability to build consensus. It also shows how one of the Fed’s 12 regional bank presidents can influence policy that is usually made by the central bank’s Washington-based board of governors, led by Bernanke. “Through the power of his ideas and his powers of … Continue reading »
The Federal Reserve announced Wednesday that it will take unprecedented steps to bolster the economy, saying it will continue to stimulate growth until the unemployment rate falls to 6.5 percent or the inflation rate reaches 2.5 percent. The Fed said it did not expect unemployment to reach that benchmark until 2015. It was a historic … Continue reading »
The Federal Reserve’s aggressive easing of monetary policy is warranted given the still-battered state of the U.S. labor market, Fed Vice Chairwoman Janet Yellen said on Monday. In an address to the politically influential AFL-CIO, the largest U.S. labor group, Yellen, a potential successor to Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke next year, bemoaned the unusually weak … Continue reading »
Aggressive policy easing will remain necessary for the simple reason that levels of both U.S. unemployment and inflation are not where the Federal Reserve wants them to be, a top U.S. central bank official said on Tuesday. In a textbook argument that appeared to push back at some of his more hawkish peers, Boston Fed … Continue reading »
Dallas Fed President Richard Fisher, a top Federal Reserve official, said on Tuesday that his main concern now was unemployment, not inflation. He said another option the Fed might consider to signal its aims to markets was a target for unemployment, although this would be difficult because monetary policy alone was not responsible for creating jobs. … Continue reading »
Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Dennis Lockhart said forceful central bank policies will remain needed to spur job growth even if Congress averts sudden tax increases and spending cuts at the end of the year. “I expect that continued aggressive use of balance sheet monetary tools will be appropriate and justified by economic conditions … Continue reading »
Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Janet Yellen backed a proposal to link the Fed’s zero interest-rate policy to progress toward meeting its goals for inflation and employment rather than to a calendar date. “The Committee might eliminate the calendar date entirely and replace it with guidance on the economic conditions that would need to prevail before … Continue reading »