What does it mean when the Federal Reserve uses its “tools”?

Mar 29, 2022
The Fed’s tools can only go so far. “All of this activity relies on the other institution at the end of the transaction,” said economics professor Nina Eichacker.
Fed Chair Jerome Powell speaking last week at the NABE Economic Policy Conference. "We aim to use our tools to moderate demand growth, thereby facilitating continued, sustainable increases in employment and wages," he said.
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Federal Reserve lifts interest rates a quarter point

Mar 16, 2022
Citing high inflation and the tight labor market, Fed Chair Jerome Powell announces the first rate hike since 2018.
Powell: The Fed is "committed to bringing inflation back down and also sustaining the economic expansion.”
Tom Williams-Pool/Getty Images

What's "full employment" for Yellen, Powell & Co.?

Mar 15, 2021
Treasury chief Yellen said the relief package may help the economy return to full employment in 2022. Officials are also concerned with other measures of financial hardship and inequality.
Unemployment is still high, but job creation is rebounding. Officials are also concerned about Americans' financial condition across race, gender and geography.
Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Fed and Treasury chart path back to "full employment"

Feb 24, 2021
Fed Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen peg the actual unemployment rate at around 10%, higher than the official 6.3%.
Federal Reserve Chair Powell testified on Capitol Hill about the U.S. labor market.
Mark Wilson/Getty Images

"We recognize it when we make a mistake, and we adjust" — Minneapolis Fed president

Dec 19, 2019
The central bank made a policy U-turn in 2019, cutting interest rates. Neel Kashkari says that's a good thing.
Neel Kashkari testifies before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs in 2008.
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Canada's immigration system has created a labor shortage

May 1, 2018
Haitians, whose temporary protected status is ending in the U.S., are helping to solve the problem.
A U.S. Border Patrol agent walks onto a frozen lake that is split between Canadian territory to the right and the United States in 2006 near Norton, Vermont.
Joe Raedle/Getty Images

2017 jobs picture was rosy, but are we at full employment?

Dec 29, 2017
2017 was a good year for jobs. Over the past year, (November 2016 to November 2017, the latest figure available), unemployment’s fallen by half a percent to just 4.1 percent. And according to orthodox economics, that means we’re hovering around full employment. Basically, the model says: If unemployment falls lower, employers will be so desperate […]

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With full employment in view, who’s still looking for work?

Mar 10, 2017
We’re getting awfully close to what economists call full employment. It means that unemployment is low enough that everyone who wants a job can pretty much find one. So if you push the unemployment rate a whole lot lower, you start to get imbalances in the economy, like acute labor shortages in some sectors and […]

How we get to "full employment"

Jul 8, 2016
If the economy were to keep adding 287,000 jobs, month after month, most of those who have dropped out of the workforce would likely come back.
Employees working in an office building. 
KUDRYAVTSEV/AFP/Getty Images

Does 5.1 percent = full employment?

Sep 4, 2015
Maybe not until we see employers bidding up wages.