It could be another two months before the U.S. Federal Reserve can determine whether recent weak economic data is truly weather-related or something more permanent, so policymakers should keep trimming their bond-buying stimulus, a top Fed official said on Thursday.
In an interview, Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart said flatly that the central bank should keep reducing its policy accommodation even if the February jobs report on Friday falls short of expectations, making for three straight months of sub-par hiring in the world’s largest economy.
“In my mind, unless we really fall off track in the economy pretty dramatically, I think the tapering program should proceed,” Lockhart told Reuters, adding that he has “modest” expectations for the government’s nonfarm payrolls report.
The Labor Department is expected to report on Friday that U.S. businesses added 149,000 jobs in February and the unemployment rate remained unchanged at 6.6 percent, according to a Reuters survey of economists.
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