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Fed Members Send Mixed Messages on Rate Hikes, Labor Markets

Fox Business (07/08/14) Dunstan Prial

Minnesota Federal Reserve Bank President Narayana Kocherlakota, an inflation dove, and Richmond Federal Reserve Bank President Jeffrey Lacker, an inflation hawk, have different opinions on how and when to raise interest rates. Kocherlakota said in a speech that it could take five years for inflation to stabilize at the target rate of 2%, while Lacker said in a separate speech that the Fed will need to withdraw monetary stimulus to prevent inflation but did not give a timetable. They also disagreed about the strength of the labor market.

Kocherlakota said labor markets aren’t as strong as monthly data suggest. “The good news is that the labor market has improved since the end of the Great Recession. The bad news is that the rate of improvement over the past four-plus years has been painfully slow,” he said. Meanwhile, Lacker said there is less “slack” in the labor market than has been suggested by others.