Janet Yellen and the Fed Should Hold Fire

September 5, 2015 7:20 AM

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As you head to the beach or the movies during Labor Day weekend, spare a thought for Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen and her colleagues. For months now, they’ve been umming and ahhing about whether to start raising short-term interest rates, which they have kept at close to zero per cent since December, 2008. Last week, Stanley Fischer, Yellen’s deputy, indicated that the Fed wanted to see August’s job figures before making a decision about whether to go ahead with a rate hike later this month.

The Labor Department released the new figures on Friday morning, but they didn’t make the Fed’s job much easier. The headline jobless rate dipped from 5.3 per cent to 5.1 per cent, which is the lowest mark since April of 2008. A year ago, the number of people who were searching for a job but couldn’...

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