Business Highlights | Overview of the main economic stories
WASHINGTON – The Federal Reserve has signaled it may act sooner than expected to start slowing down low interest rate policies that helped fuel a rapid rebound from the pandemic recession, but which also coincided with a rise in inflation. Policymakers predicted that they would increase their short-term benchmark rate – which affects many consumer and business rates, from mortgages to auto loans – twice by the end of 2023. They had previously estimated that ‘No rate hike would take place until 2024. But at a new conference, President Jerome Powell sought to allay any concerns that the Fed might be in a hurry to withdraw economic support by making borrowing more expensive.
PHOENIX – A new report reveals that Latinas have left the workforce at higher rates than any other demographic and have also had some of the highest unemployment rates throughout the pandemic. This could cause problems not only for a post-pandemic economic recovery, but for the long-term stability of the country as baby boomers continue to retire. Before the pandemic, Latinas were expected to join the U.S. workforce in greater numbers than anyone between 2019 and 2029. Now their economic gains and upward mobility are at risk. The report is released Wednesday by the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative, a Latino-focused think tank. It was first provided to The Associated Press.
WASHINGTON – The White House believes it has an ally in the bond markets to argue that inflation is not an economic threat. Republican lawmakers have interpreted rising consumer and producer prices as a sign that inflation is reaching levels that are hurting growth. But financial markets appear to be backing President Joe Biden’s case that any price hikes are the fleeting result of the United States restarting after lockdowns caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The White House points to two key market-based measures of inflation that show no reason to be alarming in the medium to long term.
WASHINGTON – Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen is reassuring Congress that the recent surge in inflation is being watched very closely by the Biden administration, but has again said such increases appear temporary. Testifying on Biden’s $ 6 trillion budget proposal before the Senate Finance Committee, Yellen was asked by Republican lawmakers on Wednesday about the recent big gains in inflation, including a 5% rise in prices at consumption for the 12 months ending in May. This is the biggest jump since 2008. Yellen said the administration took recent inflation “very seriously”, but still believes the price hikes reflect temporary factors related to the reopening of the economy after the downturns. extended closures due to the pandemic.