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The U.S. labor force participation rate may not recover to pre-pandemic levels due to a wave of retirements in the past year, Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester told reporters Wednesday, adding the job recovery still falls short of the "substantial further progress" benchmark for tapering asset purchases.
"Some conditions will be back where they were in February (2020) but there's reason to believe the labor market participation rate won't necessarily get back to the February level. A lot of people retired, and we'd like to see some people do better than the February level."
Mester earlier Wednesday laid out certain labor market metrics, including the unemployment rate, employment-to-population ratio and prime-age labor force participation, by which she is "using to inform my judgment" on the recovery. In the media call she added "I don't believe the progress we've made constitutes having met the guidance we put out for our asset purchase taper." MNI has reported that the EPOP ratio has become a key metric for Fed officials in judging the health of the U.S. economy.