WASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve is making modest progress in its push to reduce the unemployment rate. But that is not the jobs goal that Congress actually established for the Fed. The central bank is supposed to be maximizing employment. And on that front, it is not making progress.
The share of U.S. adults with jobs has hovered around 58.5 percent for more than three years, roughly 5 percentage points below its prerecession peak. Job creation has merely kept pace with population growth. The unemployment rate, now 7.6 percent, has fallen mostly because people stopped looking for work.
There is little sign, however, that Fed officials are considering an expansion of their 4-year-old stimulus campaign as the Fed’s policymaking committee prepares to convene today and Wednesday in Washington.
“We are seeing an impact from our policies,” Eric Rosengren, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston president, said recently. “I think we’re pushing the interest-sensitive sector about as far as we’re going to be able to push it at this time.”