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Powell pummeled over inflation, jobs at confirmation hearing, despite bipartisan support for Fed chair
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NatWest Markets global economics co-head Michelle Girard analyzes the December jobs report on ‘Making Money.’
Jerome Powell is expected to sail through the confirmation process to lead the Federal Reserve for another four years with broad bipartisan support, but that didn't stop lawmakers from tearing into the central banker over everything from soaring inflation to a string of trading scandals at the central bank.
Powell, who testified before members of the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday after President Biden nominated him to a second term as Fed chairman, defended his record as the leader of the world’s most powerful central bank as he navigates a bewildering economic outlook.
The U.S. economy is growing at a solid pace, but it faces challenges in the year ahead from repeated COVID-19 outbreaks, the hottest inflation in nearly four decades, a labor shortage and supply-chain bottlenecks.
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"We are strongly committed to achieving our statutory goals of maximum employment and price stability," Powell said in his prepared testimony. "We will use our tools to support the economy and a strong labor market and to prevent higher inflation from becoming entrenched."
But lawmakers were not placated, pushing Powell – who already steered the economy through the worst recession in nearly a century – to explain why the Fed did not act on combating inflation sooner and how policymakers planned to pull back on support without inadvertently triggering another recession.