Fed's Powell touches on timeline, details for central bank’s return-to-work plans

Fed decision like shooting firehose into a flood: Jim Grant

Grant’s Interest Rate Observer founder and editor Jim Grant comments on Jerome Powell’s decision on rates.

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell indicated that the agency’s staff would be resuming in-person work in a few weeks, though he did not mention any specific mandates as more requirements are announced for federal employees.

"We're working virtually here and we’ll be coming back down the road in a couple of months – starting to bring people back here at the Board of Governors in Washington," Powell said during the press conference that capped off a two-day Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy meeting. 

"We're going to follow public health guidance and things like that, we really haven’t made the fundamental decisions about what that would look like and it will depend on some extent on what CDC guidance looks like when we actually do bring people back in."

Federal Reserve Board employees are federal workers, though the regional federal bank staff are not.

DOW DIPS BELOW 35,000 AS FED HOLDS, SAYS INFLATION REMAINS TRANSITORY

Amid an uptick in cases due to the spread of the highly contagious delta variant, President Biden is expected to announce a mask mandate requiring all federal employees and contractors receive a COVID-19 vaccine or undergo regular COVID-19 testing.

The Department of Veterans Affairs announced earlier this week that it would implement a vaccine mandate for health care personnel.

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Powell said on Wednesday that the central bank would keep interest rates near 0% as the U.S. economy continues to recover from the financial effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

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He downplayed concerns that the spread of the delta variant could have serious, detrimental effects on the economy.

He also maintained that spikes in inflation are transitory, and suggested he expected the key economic gauge to return back near 2% after a few months.

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