Today Janet Yellen, our new Fed Chair, testified before Congress – the House Financial Services Committee. In her update on the economy she testified the following:
Current Economic Situation and Outlook
The economic recovery gained greater traction in the second half of last year. Real gross domestic product (GDP) is currently estimated to have risen at an average annual rate of more than 3-1/2 percent in the third and fourth quarters, up from a 1-3/4 percent pace in the first half. The pickup in economic activity has fueled further progress in the labor market. About 1-1/4 million jobs have been added to payrolls since the previous Monetary Policy Report last July, and 3-1/4 million have been added since August 2012, the month before the Federal Reserve began a new round of asset purchases to add momentum to the recovery. The unemployment rate has fallen nearly a percentage point since the middle of last year and 1-1/2 percentage points since the beginning of the current asset purchase program. Nevertheless, the recovery in the labor market is far from complete. The unemployment rate is still well above levels that Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) participants estimate is consistent with maximum sustainable employment. Those out of a job for more than six months continue to make up an unusually large fraction of the unemployed, and the number of people who are working part time but would prefer a full-time job remains very high. These observations underscore the importance of considering more than the unemployment rate when evaluating the condition of the U.S. labor market.
Click here for a full transcript of her testimony.
An important thing to note is that GDP is stated in comparison to another time frame.
Think about what her statement means. The US economy is doing better and more people have jobs, but we are still not where we need to be.