Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen on Monday sketched a generally positive picture of the economy and labor market, saying Friday’s dismal jobs report was “concerning” but policymakers still plan to gradually raise rates. She did not specify whether a rate hike at the Fed’s June 14-15 meeting was still feasible, but financial markets are giving less than 5% odds of such a move and Yellen said nothing to alter that view. She also didn’t tip her hand on the likelihood of a July rate increase, though fed fund futures say the chances are about 31%.
Generally, however, Yellen emphasized the labor market’s cumulative progress and voiced only measured concern about Friday’s report, which revealed that just 38,000 jobs were added in May, a nearly six-year low. The Labor department also revised down its estimates of April employment additions to 123,000. READ MORE