Kashkari Has ‘Zero Sympathy’ for Wall Street Critics of Fed

Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari said he has “zero sympathy” for critics on Wall Street, who slam the central bank’s aggressive support of the U.S. economy while millions of Americans remain out of work.

“For my friends on Wall Street, and I have a lot of them, I hear from them all the time complaining about the Fed’s policies that are mucking up their trading strategies,” the former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Pacific Investment Management Co. executive told Michael McKee on Friday in an interview on Bloomberg Television. “I have zero sympathy -- because there are still 8 to 10 million Americans who want to work, who ought to be working.”

Kashkari Has ‘Zero Sympathy’ for Wall Street Critics of Fed

Kashkari, a longstanding dove among U.S. central bankers, was speaking after U.S. job growth unexpectedly softened in April from the prior month, with payrolls increasing just 266,000. Economists in a Bloomberg survey projected a 1 million hiring surge in April. The unemployment rate edged up to 6.1%, though the labor-force participation rate also increased.

‘Plenty of Time’

“We need to rebuild this labor market and put them back to work. Then there will be plenty of time to normalize monetary policy,” he said.

Fed officials at their meeting last week held interest rates near zero and reaffirmed they would continue buying $80 billion of Treasuries and $40 billion of mortgage-backed securities a month until the economy had made “substantial further progress” toward their employment and inflation goals.

Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a press conference afterward that would take “some time.”

In March, the FOMC published projections showing most officials didn’t expect to begin raising the central bank’s benchmark interest rate from its current near-zero level before 2024.

The disappointing payrolls print leaves overall employment more than 8 million short of its pre-pandemic level and is consistent with recent comments from company officials highlighting challenges in filling open positions.

“We are basically in a labor market like we were in in 2009,” Kashkari said. “It’s going to take time. I don’t want it to take 10 years. Hopefully, we can put this back together in a year or two. But I just don’t want to declare victory prematurely.”

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