Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly on inflation and the Fed’s job

Sep 8, 2023, 5:16 PM

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Everything seems to be more expensive and more inflation numbers seem to come out every day. However, for the Fed, it's all about data. Photo: Adobe Stock

SALT LAKE CITY — For the typical American, everything seems to be more expensive. And new inflation numbers seem to come out every day. And while Americans are focused on their budgets, for the Federal Reserve, it’s all about data.

President and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco Mary Daly watches inflation numbers closely. She was in Utah this week to learn more about Utah businesses and to engage with the state’s community and business leaders.

She told KSL NewsRadio’s Boyd Matheson the data she looks at is about more than just numbers printed in the Wall Street Journal or other publications.

“They’re really the numbers that people look at when they look at their revenue books or their profitability or how hard it is to hire people, how much their input prices are rising,” she said.

Fighting inflation and maintaining employment

The job of each of the 12 Federal Reserve banks is to serve a specific geographic district. It enacts the monetary policy designated by Congress with the goal of keeping prices stable and helping to keep unemployment low.

They work to set inflation rates, manage the money supply, and maintain the economy. The Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco works with nine western states.

According to Daly, the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco has two main goals: keeping the inflation rate down and the U.S. employment rate up.

“One of the reasons we collect so much information … [is to] be able to shape policy that really tries to work for every American,” she said.

However, Daly said the Federal Reserve Bank isn’t fully meeting its goal of keeping inflation down.

“Inflation is coming down, thankfully, and people feel this directly in their pocketbooks and businesses feel it directly on their bottom line, but it’s still too high,” she said.

“We have a 2% inflation target. That’s because 2% is about the rate where nobody thinks about inflation when they make decisions … you don’t have to worry about it. And we’re not there yet.”

On the flip side, Daly said Americans looking to work can find jobs.

“People can find multiple jobs now,” she said.

It’s the employers that are struggling to hire.

“Businesses are still just one staff person calling in sick away from having to say ‘we can’t serve as many clients as we want,'” she said. “So, I still think the labor market is pretty tight, especially here in Utah.”

Inside Sources with Boyd Matheson can be heard on weekdays from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

Related: Paycheck to paycheck is the reality for 64% of Americans living in the west

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Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly on inflation and the Fed’s job