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Fed’s Jerome Powell addresses Congress, hints at policy adjustment

Jerome Powell

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Jerome Powell, Chair of the Federal Reserve, had a little chat with Congress where he presented the central bank’s Semiannual Monetary Policy Report. He dropped a hint that they might ease up on the economic tough love later this year. But apparently, they’re playing it cool, waiting until they’re really sure inflation is chilling out towards their 2 percent dream before making any moves.

Powell stepped up, thanking the big shots like Chairman McHenry and Ranking Member Waters for the spotlight to spill the beans on the money moves report. You see, they’ve got two big fishes to fry: getting as many people as possible into jobs and keeping price hikes from going wild. Powell shared the scoop that they’ve actually been getting somewhere on these fronts over the past twelve months.

Inflation’s been a bit of a party crasher, staying higher than what the Fed’s cool with. But, the good news is it’s started to back down, and this didn’t kick anyone out of their jobs. The job market’s gotten a bit more chill, and the fight over wages and prices is looking a bit more even right now.

Even so, Powell and his crew are keeping their eyes peeled for any inflation shenanigans, knowing well that when prices go up, it’s the people scraping by who feel it the most. They’re dead set on getting inflation to play nice at 2 percent again, saying it’s key to keeping the job market pumping strong for everyone.

Next up, Powell dished out the current economic lowdown.

This past year, the economy’s been flexing, growing by 3.1 percent, thanks to Americans’ spending and better supply chains. But not everything’s been peachy. We’re seeing high loan rates for houses and businesses are putting the brakes on spending because of expensive borrowing costs.

The job scene’s not as tight as before. We’ve seen a solid number of jobs popping up each month, and unemployment’s sticking around historical lows. More people are jumping into the workforce, and jobs are getting a bit easier to find. Even though there’s still more job openings than people to fill them, things are getting more balanced.

Inflation’s taken a bit of a step back but is still playing hard to get, staying above that 2 percent target. Both the usual and the core prices (which don’t count food and energy) have gone up slower than last year, showing signs that maybe, just maybe, inflation’s getting the message.

Powell then shifted gears to talk about how they’ve been handling the cash flow. Since early 2022, they’ve been pretty strict, keeping borrowing costs up to put a lid on spending and inflation. But, they think they might have hit the peak of being tough and might start to ease up if things keep going as planned. It’s a bit of a tightrope walk though – ease up too much or too soon, and inflation could bounce back. Too little or too late, and the economy could slow down more than they’d like.

They’re not making any quick moves, though. He said they want to be really sure that inflation is on a steady path back to 2 percent before they change anything.

In his concluding remarks, Powell got real, saying that what the Fed does touches everyone’s lives, from small towns to big cities. They’re all in to get jobs maxed out and prices stable.

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Jai Hamid

Jai Hamid is a passionate writer with a keen interest in blockchain technology, the global economy, and literature. She dedicates most of her time to exploring the transformative potential of crypto and the dynamics of worldwide economic trends.

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