Jerome Powell, President Donald Trump’s pick to lead the Federal Reserve, pledged to pursue the U.S. central bank’s goals of stable prices and maximum employment while keeping a watchful eye on financial sector risks.
“Inside the Federal Reserve, we understand that monetary policy decisions matter for American families and communities,” Powell said Thursday during a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden with Trump. “I strongly share that sense of mission and am committed to making decisions with objectivity, based on available evidence and in the longstanding tradition of monetary policy independence.”
His nomination to succeed Janet Yellen, whose term as Fed chair expires Feb. 3, is subject to Senate confirmation. Senator Mike Crapo, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, separately said his goal was to have Powell confirmed by year-end.
Powell, a former Treasury Department official who spent much of his career outside government in finance, said the economy has made substantial progress since the crisis.
“By many measures we’re close to full employment and inflation has gradually moved up towards our target,” he said, standing beside the president.
A Fed governor since 2012, Powell, 64, is seen by many as the candidate for continuity at the world’s most important central bank. He’s supported Yellen’s policy of only gradually raising interest rates in the face of robust jobs growth, and has supported only modest adjustments to the raft of banking regulation implemented in the wake of the 2008-09 financial crisis.
“Our financial system is without doubt far stronger and more resilient than it was before the crisis,” he said. “I will continue to work with my colleagues to ensure that the Federal Reserve remains vigilant and prepared to respond to changes in markets and evolving risks.”
Powell and Trump each made a point of saluting Yellen, who inherited a fragile post-crisis economy in 2014 and guided it carefully through four years of steady, if unspectacular growth.
“We are grateful for her total commitment to public service,” Trump said.
On Yellen’s watch, the U.S. economy added about 9 million jobs as it recovered from the Great Recession, lowering unemployment to 4.2 percent from 6.6 percent, while inflation averaged 1.1 percent.