Time to Put the Brakes on Jobs?

Should the Fed continue raising interest rates?

After several rate increases and with unemployment at a 17-year low, Fed officials face the question of whether joblessness might fall so much that they should pick up the pace of tightening to prevent the economy from overheating. The latest employment report released Friday by the Labor Department doesn’t suggest they need to move more aggressively or slow down. Employers added 148,000 jobs in December, and the unemployment rate was unchanged at 4.1%. Average hourly earnings of private-sector workers rose 2.5% from a year ago, in line with recent monthly readings.

Goodness. We wouldn’t want joblessness to fall too low, would we? That might force employers to pay people more!

If the Fed wants to raise rates because they think they need to keep their powder dry for the next recession, I can buy that. Maybe. But the only reason to worry about unemployment getting too low is a fear that it will push up inflation. And there’s precisely no reason to fear that inflation is about to pick up. Someday there might be, but that day is not today, not anytime in the past two decades, and unlikely to be anytime in the next few years either:

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THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

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