NY Fed's Williams says U.S. economy still far from maximum employment, not the time to lift rates

FILE PHOTO: John Williams, chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, speaks at an event in New York, U.S., November 6, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

(Reuters) - The U.S. economy is still far from maximum employment and it is not time to change interest rates, New York Federal Reserve Bank President John Williams said Thursday.

“Once the recovery is more complete and the economy is in a very good place, then we can take back the low interest rates and get them back to more normal levels,” Williams said during a virtual conversation hosted by the College of Staten Island. “It’s not the time now because the economy is still far from maximum employment.”

Williams said the U.S. is still short about 7 million jobs from before the pandemic. He said the higher prices seen recently will not last, with inflation expected to come down to about 2% next year.

Reporting by Jonnelle Marte