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MNI: Fed Can Take More Steps To Slow Inflation, Jefferson Says


Federal Reserve Governor Philip Jefferson in his first public speech Tuesday said he and his colleagues are resolute about bringing inflation back down to 2 percent, noting restoring price stability may take some time and entail a phase of below-trend growth.

"The full effects of monetary policy take time, but in my brief time on the Federal Open Market Committee, we have acted boldly to address rising inflation, and we are committed to taking the further steps necessary," he said. The CME FedWatch Tool earlier today showed a 63% chance of another 75bp fed funds rate hike in November.

"Inflation remains elevated, and this is the problem that concerns me most," he said, even as supply bottlenecks are unwinding and energy prices have come down in recent months. "I am concerned that fluctuations in prices of the goods to which people pay the most attention, like food and housing, will affect expectations of future inflation," Jefferson said.

With still-strong labor demand and sluggish labor supply, the job market remains very tight, he said. "Workers are moving between jobs more rapidly than in the past, putting upward pressure on wages."

"In a market with more job openings than workers, the competition to fill vacancies is leading to rapid wage gains now, and the resulting salary compression may lead to further upward wage pressures in the future," he said. "As growth has slowed this year, supply–demand conditions in the labor market—and the overall economy—seem likely to ease some."

The Labor Department said earlier Tuesday that job openings fell to a seasonally adjusted 10.1 million in August from 11.2 million in July, a sign that the labor market is starting to cool along with shifts down on the axis of the Beveridge Curve. (See: MNI INTERVIEW: Fed May Need Unemployment To Rise To 7% - Ball)

MNI Washington Bureau | +1 202-371-2121 |
MNI Washington Bureau | +1 202-371-2121 |

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