Federal Reserve's Dennis Lockhart tells Florida leaders rate hike coming 'before long'
ORLANDO - The head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta sees the Fed starting to hike interest rates "before long" as the economy continues improving, but also foresees long-term problems ahead without improvement in workplace training.
Dennis Lockhart, who acts as the Fed's Southeast representative as president and CEO of the Federal Bank of Atlanta, told Florida business and political leaders Thursday that he supported the Fed's decision to stand pat on an interest rate increase this month. He called reaching full employment and two percent inflation the "north stars" in setting monetary policy,
"In my opinion, the national economy remains short of these two steady conditions ... but not by a lot," he said during a morning keynote speech at the Future of Florida Forum organized by the Florida Chamber of Commerce.
In a press briefing afterward, Lockhart said he sees the Fed starting to raise rates "in one of the coming meetings" but he declined to predict any action in its November meeting.
Asked about any political motivation within the Fed - as presidential GOP candidate Donald Trump has suggested -Lockhart said: "I don't wade into politics ... The Fed is independent of short-term politics. Federal Reserve officials should not and do not opine on comments of politicians.
He added, however, that "never" in the nine-and-half-years he has been in this role has he seen "rank political considerations" play a role in the Fed's decisions.