As Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke shuts the door to his office for a final time in two days, he can say he took actions that were the first or the biggest of their kind in the central bank’s 100-year history. Some will probably also be the last.
The share of economists predicting the Federal Reserve will reduce bond buying in December doubled after a government report showed back-to-back monthly payroll gains of 200,000 or more for the first time in almost a year.
Federal Reserve policy makers have wrung out some risk in financial markets by signaling plans to wind down $85 billion in monthly bond purchases, buying time to press on with record stimulus should the economy need it.
More than half the gauges Janet Yellen uses to track the U.S. labor market are below pre- recession levels, reinforcing the likelihood she will support an easier-for-longer Federal Reserve policy as she prepares to succeed Ben S. Bernanke as chairman.