The Perfect Negative Indicator Weighs In

Alan Greenspan:

The U.S. Federal Reserve has done all it can do to reduce unemployment and needs to worry more about the risk of inflation from the stimulus it poured into the economy, former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan said on Sunday.

But didn’t we just Get All That Money Back? [link added]

Greenspan’s reason unemployment will go down soon: GOVERNMENT JOBS:

Greenspan said he expected the U.S. unemployment rate, which is currently at 10 percent, to “be significantly lower a year from now” but still very high.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s plan to hire close to 800,000 workers by April will take several tenths of a percent off the unemployment rate, he said.

Let’s ignore that 800,000 temporary hires won’t balance the 900,000 jobs to be lost on the state level next year (h/t Brad DeLong) And let’s ignore that temporary jobs are, by definition, “frictional” and not “structural” employment.

But let’s not forget, as Ben Bernanke did,* that, as noted by Dean Baker, “the dual mandate [of the Fed] is full employment (defined as 4.0 percent unemployment) and price stability.” [emphasis mine].

10.0% is not 4.0%. Indeed, 9.3% (10.0-0.7) is not 4.0%. So unless there is a miraculous 5.3% of other employment coming Real Soon Now (and I don’t even see Daniel Gross predicting that, let alone Mark Thoma or Paul Krugman), the Fed, as has been standard under Bernanke, is missing its targets.

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