Federal Reserve officials might have had a different tone about the economy and the outlook for central bank policy if they had had access to the January jobs report, a top U.S. central banker said Friday. "The tone of the meeting may have been different if the jobs report had come out before the meeting," said James Bullard, the president of the St. Louis Fed, in an interview on Wharton Business Radio on Sirius XM, according to reports. Fed watchers were generally surprised by the dovish tone of the Fed minutes. Also in the interview, Bullard, one of the more hawkish Fed regional bank presidents, repeated he wanted the Fed to drop the "patient" guidance from the statement at the Fed's next meeting in March, to create the option for the first rate hike in June. The January jobs report showed the U.S. created 257,000 jobs and companies were hiring at the fastest pace since 1997. Job growth was revised higher for December and November.
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