(Reuters) - The fact that employment rates are lower in small, rural U.S. towns is important to the Federal Reserve’s maximum employment goal, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin said on Tuesday.
“The Fed’s mandate includes maximum employment, so we care about gaps in labor market outcomes,” Barkin said in remarks prepared for delivery at an agricultural trade conference in Richmond, Virginia.
U.S. employment rates for people aged 16 to 64 are 10 percentage points lower in smaller towns than urban areas, he said. The Fed has put rate hikes on hold for the time being, with policymakers saying that improvements in the labor market are not coming with the expense of higher inflation.
Reporting by Trevor Hunnicutt; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama