June 26, 2014 / 1:55 PM / 5 years ago

Fed's Bullard: much closer to normal economy than most realize

June 26 (Reuters) - The U.S. jobless rate will fall below 6 percent and inflation looks likely to rise back to 2 percent later this year, putting the economy closer to normal than most realize, a top Fed official said on Thursday.

“You are basically going to be near normal on both dimensions basically later this year,” St. Louis Fed President James Bullard, speaking in an interview on Fox Business Network. “That’s shocking, and I don’t think markets, and I’m not sure policymakers, have really digested that that’s where we are.”

Bullard reiterated his belief that raising rates by the end of the first quarter in 2015 will be appropriate, based on his forecast that U.S. growth will register 3 percent for the next four quarters.

If data disappoints, he said, he will revise that forecast. (Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)

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