Shortcut Navigation:

AFL-CIO Now

RSS Economy Blog Posts

Trying to Teach Old Dogs New Tricks

On Wednesday, the Federal Reserve's open market committee concluded its two-day meeting to set U.S. monetary policy. In a vote that divided the Board of Governors, appointed by the president and confirmed by the U.S. Senate in an open public process, and the presidents of the regional bank board presidents, chosen by boards dominated by banks within their region, Janet Yellen, chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors and the FOMC, announced the FOMC decided to hold steady to its current fed funds rate. The fed funds rate is an overnight interest charge made between banks loaning reserves to each other. If it is higher, the cost of making loans goes up, and that reduces liquidity for the business and consumer sectors. Lower liquidity means less borrowing for business investment or consumer purchases like homes and cars. In turn, that means slower demand, and translates into slower growth for jobs.

Read more »

What Monetary Policy Needs Is Fiscal Stimulus

The Kansas City Federal Reserve Regional Bank held its annual research symposium at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming this week. The focus was on the limits of monetary policy. The challenge faced by central bankers is that since the Great Depression, the world has faced deflationary pressures from overcapacity. Oil prices have plummeted, Chinese steel floods the global markets and workers remained frustrated with low wages and finding full-time work. Central bankers have run into a problem because their primary tool of interest rate policy to stimulate the economy has run into the limit of zero nominal interest rates. At zero, they are essentially giving away money. But investment remains stuck on low. And one way to stir the economy, to prompt inflation that gives the room of rising prices for firms to make profitable investments, isn’t happening.

Read more »

The Federal Reserve and Black Unemployment

The Federal Reserve and Black Unemployment

The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) that determines U.S. monetary policy met in July.  Its job is to weigh the state of the American economy, both the labor market and inflationary pressures to set policy.  In an interesting note, its discussion of the labor market explicitly noted the condition of the African American and Hispanic unemployment rates.  More than just an aside, reflecting on the status of June’s labor market the minutes of the meeting show the following note:

“The unemployment rates for African Americans and for Hispanics stayed above the rate for whites, al­though the differentials in jobless rates across the different groups were similar to those before the most recent recession.”

Read more »

What Working People Are Doing This Week

What Working People Are Doing This Week

Welcome to our regular feature, a look at what the various AFL-CIO unions and other working family organizations are doing around the country and beyond. The labor movement is big and active—here's a look at the broad range of activities we're engaged in this week.

Read more »

Connect With Us

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • YouTube
  • Flickr

Get Email from AFL-CIO


Msg & data rates may apply. Text STOP to 235246 to stop receiving messages. Text HELP to 235246 for more information.

Blogs

Join Us Online