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Powell on March jobs report: ‘We want to see a string of months like that’

Yahoo Finance's Brian Cheung reports key takeaways from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s speech on the global economy.

Video Transcript

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: Federal Reserve Chair Jay Powell discussed the global economy today at a webcast conference hosted by the International Monetary Fund. His speech comes one day after minutes from the Fed's March policy meeting were released, showing concerns about the recovery in the job market. Our Fed correspondent Brian Cheung joining us now with some of the takeaways from today's speech. Hey, Brian.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Hey, Alexis. Well, again, the Fed chairman making those remarks at an IMF panel that kicked off at noon Eastern time today. And not much news specifically from the Fed chairman, rehashing a lot of the FOMC minute talking points, as you had just mentioned. But this was his first public appearance and his first speech since the jobs report from last March that showed over 900,000 jobs created in that month. Here is what the Fed chairman said about what that means for monetary policy. Take a listen.

JAY POWELL: And of course, monetary policy is still supportive. And we got a taste of what faster progress will look like with the March employment report close to a million jobs, particularly if you add in the revisions for January and February. And we want to see a string of months like that, so we can really begin to show progress toward our goals.

BRIAN CHEUNG: Now what's really interesting is that he used the word progress toward our goals. And people who maybe only casually watch the Fed might miss this, but this is actually more granular detail on what the Federal Reserve might be doing with its asset purchase program. Keep in mind the Fed has been buying about $120 billion a month in assets per month. And it said it will continue that until it sees substantial further progress.

So by saying a few months or a string of months of a million job gains in those jobs reports could mean progress toward our goals, that might mean that if we do get some more 1 million plus jobs reports in April, May, maybe June, that could get the Fed closer and closer to maybe pulling back some of that support. So, very interesting to read between the lines there. And we are indeed getting some clues about what the Fed might do next, at least from those remarks, Alexis.

ALEXIS CHRISTOFOROUS: All right, Brian Cheung, going to leave it there. Thanks so much.