Friday, August 26, 2016
WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said today the case for raising interest rates has strengthened in light of a solid job market and an improved outlook for the U.S. economy and inflation. But she stopped short of offering any timetable.
Yellen sketched a generally upbeat assessment of the economy in a speech to an annual conference of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She pointed to steady gains in employment and strength in consumer spending.
She also noted that while inflation is still running below the Fed's 2 percent target, it's being depressed mainly by temporary factors.
"In light of the continued solid performance of the labor market and our outlook for economic activity and inflation," Yellen said, "I believe the case for an increase (in the Fed's benchmark borrowing rate) has strengthened in recent months."
Still Yellen declined to hint at whether the Fed might raise rates at its next policy meeting, Sept. 20-21, or at its subsequent meetings in early November and mid-December. Instead, she stressed, as she frequently has, that the Fed's rate decisions will depend on whether the freshest economic data continues to confirm its outlook.
"As ever," she said, "the economic outlook is uncertain, and so monetary policy is not on a preset course."