The year was 1999, the unemployment rate was 4.3 percent, and President Bill Clinton’s top economic adviser had a message for economists gathered at Yale University: Tight labor markets are beneficial for blacks, Hispanics and male high-school dropouts.
Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard said the Fed is closer to its goals for employment and inflation than at any time in five years, helping to warrant its tapering of record stimulus.
The U.S. economy grew more rapidly in the fourth quarter than previously estimated as consumer spending climbed by the most in three years, showing the expansion had momentum heading into this year’s harsh winter.
In her first meeting as Federal Reserve chair next week, Janet Yellen will put her stamp on policy by reaching for a favorite tool of central bankers: words intended to guide markets in the direction policy makers want.
A shutdown of the U.S. government would reduce fourth-quarter economic growth by as much as 1.4 percentage points depending on its length, economists say, as government workers from park rangers to telephone receptionists are furloughed.