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Federal Reserve Richmond President Warns of Lingering Inflation Concerns

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The UK’s economic recovery from the pandemic-induced downturn is progressing, but there are still challenges ahead, according to Federal Reserve Richmond President Tom Barkin. Speaking in Westminster, Barkin acknowledged that inflation remains too high, and striking the right balance in addressing this issue is crucial. Over-correcting could harm the economy, while under-correcting may lead to a resurgence in high inflation. The Federal Reserve recently decided to maintain interest rates at 5.25-5.50 percent, a decision Barkin supports.

One area where improvements are beginning to be seen is in prices. During the pandemic, the demand for consumer goods soared, causing prices to reach record highs. However, Barkin noted that overall goods prices are starting to decrease, although certain products may still be priced considerably higher than before the pandemic. Barkin expressed curiosity about consumer demand heading into the Christmas shopping season, as the “price genie” may prove difficult to control.

Another factor contributing to rising costs is the difficulty in sourcing and retaining labor. Barkin surveyed the attendees of his talk and found that the majority reported it has become more challenging to hire workers post-pandemic. The pandemic had a disparate impact on working mothers, with less-educated women with young children being hit the hardest. However, Barkin mentioned that women’s participation in the labor market is currently at its highest level ever, particularly among women with college degrees and children.

Turning to the state of South Carolina’s economy, Barkin praised the state for its attractiveness to workers, along with North Carolina. A strong workforce is crucial for attracting companies to establish themselves in the state. South Carolina has been successful in attracting manufacturing companies, with notable recent examples including Scout Motors and Nissin Foods, which will create jobs and boost the local economy.

Overall, while progress has been made in the UK’s economic recovery, challenges remain. Addressing inflation, managing labor shortages, and attracting investment will be key priorities moving forward.

More detail via Post and Courier here… ( Image via Post and Courier )

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