(Bloomberg) -- Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin said policymakers have time to determine if they need to do more work to cool inflation and that the labor market may offer some insight.
“We have time to see if we’ve done enough, or whether there’s more work to be done,” Barkin said Thursday in remarks prepared for an event in New York organized by the Money Marketeers of New York University.
“The path forward to me depends on whether we can convince ourselves inflationary pressures are behind us, or whether we see them persisting. I will be watching the labor market closely for those signals,” he said.
While Fed officials agreed this month to leave the target range for their benchmark rate unchanged at 5.25% to 5.5%, fresh quarterly projections showed 12 of 19 officials favored another rate hike in 2023 — underscoring a desire to ensure inflation continues to decelerate. The forecasts also showed US central bankers overall see fewer cuts in 2024 than previously anticipated, in part due to a stronger labor market.
The Richmond Fed chief, who doesn’t vote on the policy this year, said he supported the decision to hold rates stable this month and that it’s difficult to know where demand and inflation are headed. Many employers are still facing labor shortages, and the pandemic spurred shifts in the types of jobs workers want to hold, he noted.
Barkin said he expects further tightening to come from the effects of previous rate hikes on the economy.
“I don’t think it’s all in and we’re done,” he said.
Barkin said earlier on Thursday during an interview with Bloomberg Television that it was too early to know if another rate increase would be needed this year, noting that headwinds from a potential government shutdown could create more uncertainty for the economy.
(Updates with Barkin’s comments on future impact of previous rate hikes in sixth paragraph.)
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