NEWARK, Del. Feb 11 Assessing the U.S.
economy's underlying economic trends has become more difficult
because of record low temperatures and heavy snowfall across
much of the nation, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia
President Charles Plosser said on Tuesday.
"I suspect it may be another couple of months before we have
a better read on the economy," Plosser said in prepared remarks
for a speech at the University of Delaware. He characterized the
weather as "unusually disruptive."
On Friday the January U.S. jobs report showed a
smaller-than-expected increase of 113,000 in the number of newly
created non-farm jobs versus the Reuters consensus estimate of
185,000. The unemployment rate dipped to 6.6 percent, a
Plosser, a voting member of the U.S. central bank's monetary
policy committee this year, reiterated his stance that the Fed
should move faster in winding down its bond purchasing program.
He called the purchases, known as quantitative easing, "neither
helpful nor essential."
Plosser reiterated that even with January's disappointing
jobs report there has been significant improvement in labor
market conditions, to the point where the criteria for ending
asset purchases has been met.
Beyond the asset purchases, the Fed has promised to keep
interest rates near zero until well past the time unemployment
falls below a 6.5 percent threshold, especially if inflation