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Yellen’s First Year: A Steady Course

New York Times (12/23/14) Binyamin Appelbaum

As U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen approaches her first anniversary atop the Fed, the course she is charting illustrates both her determination to make jobs more readily available—and the limits of that pursuit, which are to some extent self-imposed. Under her leadership, the central bank has effectively expanded its stimulus campaign. It has done so by leaving its plans unchanged even as unemployment has declined much more quickly than its officials had expected. At the same time, Yellen has made clear that low borrowing costs cannot address all employment problems, and that she is not willing to test whether higher inflation might lead to greater economic growth. Fed officials and outside experts say that Yellen is likely to more distinctly define her own approach next year as the Fed picks its moment to start raising its benchmark interest rate for the first time in almost a decade.