Raskin Says U.S. Economy May Be Stronger, With ‘Long Way to Go’

Federal Reserve Governor Sarah Bloom Raskin said she sees signs the U.S. economic recovery may be strengthening while still having a “long way to go.”

“Some economic news has been encouraging and may be suggesting that the pace of the recovery is picking up,” Raskin said today in the text of a speech in Los Angeles. “Even though general economic activity and labor-market conditions have improved modestly in the past two and a half years or so, house prices have continued to trend down.”

Fed officials disagree over whether the benchmark interest rate should stay low through at least late 2014, a plan that the Federal Open Market Committee endorsed last month. Minneapolis Fed President Narayana Kocherlakota said today improvements in the economy may warrant a policy tightening as early as this year. Vice Chairman Janet Yellen and New York Fed President William C. Dudley said borrowing costs will need to stay low through late 2014 to foster a revival in the job market.

“It is an understatement to say that these are profoundly challenging times for millions of Americans,” Raskin, 50, said at the San Francisco Fed’s business and community leaders luncheon.

Policy makers at their March 13 meeting favored more stimulus only if growth faltered or inflation was below the Fed’s 2 percent target, according to minutes of the meeting.

Employers added 120,000 jobs in March, marking the slowest pace of job creation in five months, Labor Department figures showed last week. Also, jobless claims reached a two-month high in the week ended April 7, according to a report released today.

Still, the Fed said in its Beige Book business survey released yesterday that the economy continued to grow at a “modest to moderate pace” from mid-February to late-March.

“The Federal Reserve remains fully committed to doing everything it can to promote maximum employment in the context of price stability,” Raskin said today.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aki Ito in San Francisco at aito16@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Christopher Wellisz at cwellisz@bloomberg.net

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