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Low for Long: A Q&A With Boston Fed’s Rosengren

Wall Street Journal (10/19/14) Pedro Nicolaci Da Costa

At its upcoming meeting, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston president Eric Rosengren says, the U.S. Federal Reserve will end its bond-buying program, noting that it could hold off on raising interest rates if overseas weakness takes a bigger-than-expected toll on the U.S. economy. In a recent interview with the Wall Street Journal, Rosengren said that “being focused on getting labor markets back to where we think full employment is is, I think, the most tangible way that monetary policy can impact income equality.”

Although he did not give a time line, he said the central bank should begin raising short-term interest rates when the economy is one year away from full employment and at the 2% inflation target. “We tend to talk in terms of the U-3 measure of unemployment, but the reality is the part-time for economic reasons is still quite high relative to what we’ve historically seen at this kind of unemployment rate. To me that indicates that there’s a good chance that even if we got to 5-1/4%, we still may have more labor market slack than we’ve had historically,” Rosengren said. “We do want to get inflation back up to 2%, and if we need tighter labor markets than we’ve historically needed in order to do that, then we should allow the unemployment rate to drift further down.”