Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Plosser thinks there is no jobs problem

So while we wait for the jobs plan that the president will announce later this week, the Fed published the minutes of the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) meeting.  Three members, including Real Business Cycle (RBC) guru Charles Plosser, voted against maintaing interest rates close to zero until 2013. The three that voted against are afraid about core inflation, and signaling that rates will not increase if inflation accelerates.   Also, somebody believes that a slight increase in core inflation with the slightly lower unemployment (even though the lower unemployment is related to participation rates) implies that potential output is lower.  Not kidding.  Precise words in the minutes are:
"A couple of others, however, suggested that the juxtaposition of higher core inflation and somewhat lower unemployment could imply that the level of potential output was lower than had been thought."
The economy grew 0.7% in the first six months of the year, and we are still below the previous peak, but we're close to potential output?! My guess is that "the couple of others" includes Plosser.  In other words, this guy thinks that around 9 percent unemployment is close to the natural rate.  Nothing like believing that anything is full employment to convince yourself that markets actually produce optimal outcomes.

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