Fmr. Obama Econ. Adviser Furman: Inflation Is 'Higher' and 'More Stubborn' than We Thought

On Friday’s broadcast of CNBC’s “Closing Bell: Overtime,” Professor of the Practice of Economic Policy at Harvard University and the Harvard Kennedy School Jason Furman, who served as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Barack Obama and on the Council of Economic Advisers and the National Economic Council under President Bill Clinton, stated that “the inflation we have is higher than we thought, it’s more stubborn than we thought.” And without “real softening” in the labor market, inflation will not come down much from where it is.

Furman said, “So, first of all, the economic picture has changed dramatically in the last month and a half. If you just look at the three-month annualized core PCE inflation rate, which the Fed keeps its eye on, that’s gone from 2.9% when they last met to 4.7% right now. So, you have this big change in the economy. At the same time, a lot of the things we were counting on to take the inflation away have already happened. Oil prices have come down, microchips are much more plentiful, schools are reopened, etc., etc. And yet, inflation hasn’t come down. So, I think the inflation we have is higher than we thought, it’s more stubborn than we thought. And a data-dependent Fed needs to take that into account.”

Later, he added that we have the current rates despite the fact that “a lot of things have gone right in terms of inflation.” And stated, “I’d look to the labor market, absent a real softening of some form — whether in wages or unemployment right there — I don’t think you can get this inflation rate much lower than what we have now.”

Follow Ian Hanchett on Twitter @IanHanchett


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