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Goldman economist says Fed hike likely late 2015 or early 2016

A trader works at the Goldman Sachs stall on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, April 16, 2012. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

STONE MOUNTAIN, Ga. (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs (GS.N) Economist Jan Hatzius said on Wednesday he believed the Federal Reserve will likely raise interest rates late this year or early next year, given the amount of slack still present in the labor market.

Hatzius, speaking on a panel here at an Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank event, said his view on the timing reflected a significant amount of slack still in the labor market and weak wage growth.

"My own view is that it's not yet time. Certainly not high time yet," Hatzius said, adding that Goldman's forecast for the first hike is for September.

"My opinion in terms of when monetary policy ought to be tightened is very late this year, or early next year."

(Reporting by Michael Flaherty and Howard Schneider; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and Bernadette Baum)