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Joe Biden gives a rare take on interest rates by saying the latest jobs numbers show the economy is in a ‘sweep spot’ and that rate hikes aren’t needed

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President Joe Biden said Friday’s jobs report shows the labor market remains resilient as inflation continues to ease, an economic “sweet spot” that he said shouldn’t prompt the Federal Reserve to raise rates further.

The comments marked a rare example of Biden weighing in on central bank policy making. They came as the president gears up for a reelection campaign that will be decided in part on his stewardship of the US economy, which voters have rated poorly, polls show.

The US labor market unexpectedly strengthened in November, adding 199,000 jobs and showing wage growth that tempered bets the Fed would cut rates early next year. That should be considered a “solid, steady” increase, Biden said Friday.

The president called the figure “a sweet spot that’s needed for stable growth and lower inflation, not encouraging the Fed to raise interest rates,” during a speech in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the president’s remarks. 

Recent presidents have refrained from routinely commenting on the Fed, wary of eroding the bank’s traditional independence to set monetary policy and giving the impression that decisions are driven by politics.

Biden’s predecessor, Donald Trump, however, repeatedly attacked Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell over the bank’s policy. Trump nominated Powell to lead the Fed in 2017, and Powell took over the next year. 

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