Fed must weigh impact of restrictive policy stance, Goolsbee says

By Thomson Reuters Apr 8, 2024 | 1:34 PM

By Michael S. Derby

(Reuters) – Chicago Federal Reserve President Austan Goolsbee said on Monday the U.S. central bank must weigh how much longer it can maintain its current interest rate stance without it damaging the economy.

“You’ve got to pay attention to how long do you want to be that restrictive,” Goolsbee said of monetary policy, noting in an interview with Chicago radio station WBEZ that “if you’re there too long, the unemployment rate is going to start going up.”

Goolsbee did not comment directly on the Fed’s monetary policy outlook. U.S. central bankers are seeking data that would allow them to deliver on their projected three rate cuts in 2024. But the timing of the start of the easing has been challenged by sturdy inflation data since the start of the year.

The Fed’s benchmark overnight interest rate is currently in the 5.25%-5.50% range, which is widely viewed as slowing the economy.

Goolsbee said the economy has been solid but has been growing slower this year than in 2023. He said there’s a disconnect between the data and how the public feels about the economy, and that he’s placing more emphasis on the former as part of his decision-making process.

(Reporting by Michael S. Derby; Editing by Chris Reese and Paul Simao)