“Conflict of Interest”

That´s the expression that came to my mind when I read this article in the Fiscal Times: “The enduring jobs mystery that the Fed must solve”. And thought to myself that either:

  1. The Fed has realized the “jobs mystery” is of its own making and therefore has no interest in “solving” it, lest everyone will know it messed-up before.
  2. The Fed has no inkling that it was responsible to start with, in which case it will never be able to solve it.

And the “cyclical/structural discussion” will go on until it all becomes structural, and therefore no fault from the Fed!

An example:

The U.S. job market remains far from full health despite recent progress, and requires active efforts by policy makers to help it heal, a Federal Reserve economist said Wednesday.

Andrew Levin, currently on leave from the central bank while working at theInternational Monetary Fund, played down the idea that much of the weakness in the job market is due to demographic trends that are not amenable to policy solutions.

“Rather than focusing on econometric models we should focus on the problems of real people,” Mr. Levin said at a conference sponsored by the Peterson Institute for International Economics, a Washington think tank. “When we talk about people who are underemployed, we’re talking about, say, a single mother who’s maybe relying on food stamps and Medicaid. There’s an urgency for those people.”

Mr. Levin’s message countered that of Fed staff economist William Wascher, co-author of a recent paper that found the decline in the share of Americans holding or seeking jobs is largely the product of demographic factors, such as a rising number of retirees, rather than weak demand in the aftermath of a particularly awful recession. Also presenting on the same panel as Mr. Levin, Mr. Wascher repeated his message that, while slack remains in the job market, conditions have improved considerably over the past year.

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