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Jobs Upturn Isn’t Enough to Satisfy Fed

Wall Street Journal (03/09/13) Jon Hilsenrath

With the U.S. Federal Reserve most concerned about the health of the labor market, observers think several more encouraging job reports will be needed before it considers pulling back from a plan to hold short-term rates near zero and buy $85 billion of Treasury and mortgage-backed securities per month to reduce long-term rates. While some Fed officials worry the programs could boost inflation or market instability, Charles Evans, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, is among those calling for the programs to remain in place. “We need job growth of around 200,000 per month over a six-month period,” he says. “We also need to see output growth above trend, reinforcing that job growth. Together, these ought to lead to a steady decline in the unemployment rate.”