ST. LOUIS, April 11 Gloomy jobs data for March
doesn't signal the recovery has been thrown off course, a top
Federal Reserve official said on Wednesday.
"The report was mediocre but it's just one piece of data in
the larger mosaic," St. Louis Federal Reserve President James
Bullard told reporters. "I don't think it changes the outlook
Many of the Labor Department's non-farm payrolls reports
recently have been revised higher, and that could well be the
case with last month's data, Bullard said. The government report
showed employers adding a meager 120,000 new jobs in March and
fueled speculation the Federal Reserve would have to launch
another round of monetary easing.
Bullard believes unemployment, which dipped to 8.2 percent
last month, will continue to slip down below 8 percent by the
end of the year and that economic growth will be around 3
percent. Viewed as a centrist on the spectrum of policymakers
who seek further easing and those who would begin tightening
policy soon, the St. Louis Fed leader is not a voting member of
the central bank's policy-setting panel this year.
Market anticipation of the Fed's next move has gyrated from
expectation of another bond buying program to anticipation the
central bank will take no action and may begin to plan its exit
from its ultra-easy stance.
The Fed cut rates to near zero more than three years ago and
has bought $2.3 trillion in bonds to boost growth. A program to
rebalance its bond holdings to lengthen the average maturity of
its holdings -- aimed at pushing down longer-term interest rates
-- comes to an end in June.
Bullard said that the end of that program, nicknamed
"Operation Twist" after a 1960s era effort to twist down
longer-term rates, shouldn't be seen as the beginning of a
"Markets have it a little wrong with the end of Operation
Twist because they're talking about the end of Operation Twist
as if it would be the end of easing," he said.