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Mon Sep 30, 2013, 12:47 AM


Fed may have to move goal posts on unemployment rate.


“The committee would also take into account additional measures of labor-market conditions,” Ben S. Bernanke, chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve, said Sept. 18. “Thus, the first increases in short-term rates might not occur until the unemployment rate is considerably below 6.5 percent.”

It’s becoming increasingly clear why Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke should have avoided linking the central bank’s policy decisions to specific unemployment rates.

Bernanke said in June he expected the Fed would complete its bond buying when the jobless level was around 7 percent, and policy makers have pledged since December they won’t consider raising interest rates as long as it exceeds 6.5 percent. With a decline in August to 7.3 percent for the wrong reason -- Americans giving up on finding work -- Fed officials are being forced to shift their guideposts.

The flawed measure has contributed to the market’s confusion over the direction of monetary policy, and Fed officials now are struggling with how to minimize it as a policy benchmark without damaging their credibility, according to Ethan Harris, co-head of global economics research at Bank of America Corp. in New York. The Federal Open Market Committee’s Sept. 18 decision not to taper its $85 billion in monthly bond buying surprised investors across the globe.

“Picking the unemployment rate as the key growth-side indicator was a huge mistake for the Fed,” said Harris, one of the few economists to correctly predict the Fed wouldn’t taper in September. “It was supposed to be a marker that the average Joe could look at and say, ‘Ah! OK, now we’ve hit a broad-based recovery.’ Now, they’ve almost immediately abandoned it.”

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Reply Fed may have to move goal posts on unemployment rate. (Original post)
dkf Sep 2013 OP
Demeter Sep 2013 #1

Response to dkf (Original post)

Mon Sep 30, 2013, 07:24 AM

1. The Fed consists of 12 blind men (and women) feeling and describing an elephant


as in the Buddhist fable

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