ATLANTA Jan 9 Recovery from the economic crisis
is "largely done," and officials should now turn to addressing
longer-term issues like how to boost productivity, Atlanta
Federal Reserve bank president Dennis Lockhart said on Monday.
The economy is near full employment, inflation is close to
the Fed's two percent goal, and the United States appears locked
in for steady growth of around 2 percent annually, said
Lockhart, who is due to retire next month.
After years in which the Fed has been the main player
steadying the economy, he said it was time for a transition to
a different debate about how to boost productivity, raise
investment, and try to counter trends that are holding down
"The job of cyclical recovery is largely done. The Federal
Reserve is quite close to achieving its mandated policy
objectives of full employment and stable prices," Lockhart said
in an economic policy address at the Rotary Club of Atlanta.
"How is our economy positioned for the future? This is the
key question. The economy today is well positioned for moderate
growth and steadily improving conditions. It's less certain that
the economy is positioned for a breakout to markedly higher
growth on a sustained basis."
The types of regulatory, tax or other changes that may be
needed, he said, are "more the domain of Congress, the
administration, and the private sector..It's time for the Fed
and monetary policy to shift to more of a support role."
Lockhart did not in his prepared remarks indicate when he
expected the Fed to next raise rates, though he said he expected
any future increases to come at a "gradual" pace.
At its last meeting the Fed raised rates and indicated the
tempo of increases may accelerate following the election of
Donald Trump on promises of a major spending plan and tax
reform. Several policymakers have since said rates may have to
rise faster under Trump in order to hold inflation at bay.
Lockhart, however, said he felt it was still too early to
make any judgment about how the new administration may change
the path of the economy
(Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Andrea Ricci)