Fed's Mester: We’re Basically at Full Employment, 2017 Rate Hikes on Track

By The Fed FOXBusiness

Fed's Mester: Not surprised if interest rate forecast is more variable this year

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester on the December jobs report, the Fed's plans for interest rate increases and the outlook for inflation.

Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester called the December jobs report “decent” and “in line with what we’ve been seeing.”

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Mester’s comments came as the stock market dipped following the unspectacular report. But Mester tried to paint a rosy picture.

“My own view is that we’re basically at full employment from the point of view of the monetary policy goal, one of our dual mandate goals,” Mester told FOX Business Network’s Peter Barnes.

When asked if her forecast for interest rate hikes was in line with the Fed forecast of three rate hikes in 2017, Mester said that, although her view differed a bit from the consensus, she was comfortable with the compromise.

“I’ve been a little more, seeing a little more strength in the economy,” she said. “I have a little more built in inflation pressures in my forecast, so you know, I’m probably a little steeper than that in my forecasts but I think the three, the median path is a good summary of where the tenor of the committee is.”

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Mester said that the Fed remained flexible as it begins to see which policies of President-elect Trump are implemented once he takes office.

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“I wouldn’t be surprised if our forecast will be more variable this year just because we’re going to incorporate, as more information comes out about what those fiscal packages will look like in terms of tax policy and other policies that the new administration is promulgating.”

Mester then weighed in on the Fed’s inflation target, explaining, “I think that over the next two years we’re going to meet our inflation goal of 2%,” Mester continued, “And as you know, monetary policy has to be forward looking, so you know, what we’re trying to do is sustain the expansion right.”

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