Barkin says Fed needs ‘a few more months’ to see clear picture of inflation, labor market

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FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin poses during a break at a Dallas Fed conference on technology in Dallas

WASHINGTON – It may take several more months at least for the Federal Reserve to understand if high inflation and labor shortages are offshoots of the pandemic that will eventually ease, or reflect more durable changes to the economy, Richmond Federal Reserve President Thomas Barkin said on Monday.

Barkin said on Yahoo Finance the Fed will not hesitate to raise interest rates if it concludes high inflation threatens to persist, but “it is helpful for us to have a few more months to evaluate is inflation going to come back to a more normal level? Is the labor market going to open up? … I think it is helpful to have some time to see where reality is.”

(Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Chris Reese)