The Federal Reserve raised its interest rate by 75 basis points during its Wednesday meeting.The hike comes amid its continued bid to reduce inflation and is its second consecutive such raise and fourth overall raise to date. A basis point is one hundredth of a percentage point.
The move brings its target range to 2.25% to 2.50%. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell pointed to an “extremely tight” labor market and reaffirmed the Fed’s commitment to bring inflation down, noting the Fed also anticipates ongoing increases in the target range for federal funds will be appropriate as it continues to move to stabilize prices. The committee will consider hikes on a meeting by meeting basis, he said.
“It is essential that we bring inflation down to our 2 percent goal if we are to have a sustained period of strong labor market conditions that benefit all,” Powell said during a press conference following the meeting.
The hike, in line with expectations before the Wednesday meeting, comes in the face of continuing economic pressures throughout the country, with inflation at a four-decade high.
Fears of a potential recession have abounded as inflation continues to spike, with Powell admitting that while the Fed was not expecting a good reading on inflation, results for June were “worse than expected.” June data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed consumer prices shot up 9.1% last month, with food, shelter and gas seeing particular spikes.
However, the chairman does not believe the U.S. economy is in a recession currently as there are “too many areas of the economy that are performing well,” pointing to the strength of the labor market in particular.
“This is a very strong labor market, and it’s just not consistent…that the economy is in a recession with this kind of thing happening,” Powell said of the labor market.
The unemployment rate held steady at 3.6% in June according to data from the BLS, a near 50-year low.