Yellen commits Fed to boost still-weak U.S. economy

NEW YORK Wed Mar 5, 2014 3:08pm EST

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on ''Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy.'' at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, February 11, 2014. REUTERS/Mary F. Calvert

Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen testifies before a House Financial Services Committee hearing on ''Monetary Policy and the State of the Economy.'' at the Rayburn House Office Building in Washington, February 11, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Mary F. Calvert

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen vowed on Wednesday to do all that she can to boost a U.S. economy that is running well short of the central bank's objectives.

"The economy continues to operate considerably short of these objectives" of maximum employment and stable prices, Yellen said according to prepared remarks at a swearing-in ceremony at the central bank in Washington.

"The economy is stronger and the financial system is sounder," added Yellen, who succeeded Ben Bernanke on February 1. "We have come a long way, but we have farther to go."

The brief comments were a broad reiteration of what she told two congressional committees last month: that the United States appears to be clawing its way back from the 2007-2009 recession but that the Fed is in no rush to tighten policy.

The world's biggest economy expanded at a decent 2.4 percent rate in the fourth quarter and has slowed this year due in part to severe weather. The U.S. unemployment rate is down to 6.6 percent, from a recessionary high of 10 percent in 2009, but it remains high and jobs growth is erratic.

The Fed targets 2 percent inflation and wants to see joblessness fall to around 5.5 percent.

"Too many Americans still can't find a job or are forced to work part-time," Yellen said on Wednesday, underscoring her long-standing focus on the troubled labor market.

"I promise to never forget the individual lives, experiences and challenges that lie behind the statistics we use to gauge the health of the economy," she said. "When we make progress toward our goals, each job that is created lifts this burden for someone who is better equipped to be a good parent, to build a stronger community, and to contribute to a more prosperous nation."

Turning to Wall Street reforms, Yellen said the Fed will move forward "quickly and responsibly" to complete the work that remains to safeguard the financial system.

(Reporting by Jonathan Spicer; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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Comments (3)
WJL wrote:
An easy way to boost the economy is to divert 75% of military spending to local economy issues like education, infrastructure, foreign aid (without strings), etc.

Mar 05, 2014 7:08pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Tarakohe wrote:
Why is it that the stock markets are hitting new historic highs month after month if the economy is weak and needs help? Because the so-called ‘help’ from the Fed has never been about protecting the American middle class as it drifts lower and lower and jobs are harder and harder to come by, and has been about infusing the securities industry and the wall street banks. That’s why the stock market has risen so dramatically – the Fed has been supplying free money for Wall Street banks – and no one else.

Mar 05, 2014 10:08pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Gorm wrote:
Yellen is a Bernanke clone! WHY does she think her results will be any different than Ben’s??
When the stimulus failed, the Fed employed QEs to inflate assets with the expectation this created wealth would be a back door approach to stimulate wealth, increased spending, more economic growth and jobs. Afterall, the Fed slowly learned it could NOT force banks to lend nor consumers and businesses to borrow!!

So NOW we have a stupid monetary tack to grow their DEBT, ie approaching $4T while our fiscal side does it best

OUR problems go well beyond SPENDING!! Like Japan and now Europe we are looking at DEFLATION. DEBT, by its vary nature is deflationary as it represents PAST consumption and production.
All central banks seem intent to debase their currencies, to spur domestic growth while exporting production. Certainly Japan, long in a deflationary malaise, seem BENT on effecting a change, one way or the other!!
WHY don’t our Fed and leaders explore the WHYs and craft a plan to solve our problems, enabling economic growth vs just concluding SPENDING MORE is the answer. Look at bonehead Obama’s 2015 budget – and this guy NEVER even ran a lemonade stand and we give him a say in a $4T budget??? And we WONDER WHY things aren’t improving???

Mar 06, 2014 11:44am EST  --  Report as abuse
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