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Yellen Says Job Weakness Forestalls Raising Rates

New York Times (04/16/14) Nelson D. Schwartz

U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Janet Yellen said in a speech yesterday that she expects interest rates to remain very low until the recovery is on more secure footing and the American economy more fully engages available workers and other resources. The housing and auto industry is rebounding, but a healthy and robust job market is “more than two years away,” she said. She noted that the risk of inflation rising above the Fed’s 2.0% target is less of a danger than too little inflation.

Even though the unemployment rate is at 6.7% and continues to fall, Yellen said that other indicators demonstrate a less healthy job market with more people taking on just part-time work and a large portion of workers dropping out of the workforce altogether. Yellen said the Fed must remain “nimble” to respond to the “twists and turns” of a slowly recovering economy.