Fed's Powell Says Economy in `Good Place' With Low Unemployment
(Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell gave a brief but positive assessment of the economy at an event organized for educators.
“The U.S. economy is now in a good place,” Powell said Wednesday evening in response to audience questions during a meeting with teachers at the central bank’s headquarters in Washington. “At the moment, unemployment is low, prices are near two percent inflation, so we’re in a good place now.”
The Fed has pivoted in recent weeks to a decidedly more dovish stance, signaling it will be patient before deciding how next to adjust interest rates. That contrasts sharply with the central bank’s stance in December when officials penciled in two hikes for 2019.
The policy U-turn after the Fed raised rates in December reflected concern that slower global growth, tighter financial conditions and uncertainty over U.S.-China trade talks and Brexit posed risks to the central bank’s positive U.S. economic outlook.
Most of Powell’s remarks during an hour-long discussion were not specifically about the economy or monetary policy.
The central bank’s vice chairman for banking supervision, Randal Quarles, also spoke on Wednesday, offering a similar characterization of the U.S. economy.
“The outlook is still very solid,” Quarles said during his response to questions following a speech in New York. “Everything we see, all the job numbers in particular, the labor market, is an extremely solid labor market, and inflation pressures remain muted.”
Quarles added that global risks represent the most significant threat to the outlook. “That will be what I, at least, will be looking at over the course of the next six months,” he said.
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