tv Fast Money Halftime Report CNBC February 10, 2016 12:00pm-1:01pm EST
conversation. so my whole point is that i'd want the fed, nobody is better equipped to handle this rigid unemployment facing the african-american community in that most pliable age group. that is the child-producing age group. 18-37. can you imagine if that was employment rate of 37.6% of white young men in that age group? all hell would be breaking loose right now to do something about it. we need that same compassion from you. when you look at the energy -- the sectors of the economy that are growing, transportation, energy, agriculture business, health care, construction, rebuilding the infrastructure, manufacturing, we need an advocacy from you to say
automatically there must be on-the-job training programs for african-americans in this group to go into these areas and earn as they learn. in agri business we have 1890s college, 19 of them, whose authority and mandate, due to farm bill, is to take the money that we've given to the farm bill and spend in teaching, research and extension. why not create the other spending category, for scholarships and loan forgiveness, students who will go in and take advantage of these job openings in agriculture business. all i'm saying is that, please, we have got to get the fed to get off the dime and put the issue of african-american unemployment on the front burner. that is the core of all of the
domestic issues that we're facing. and that is the child-bearing group. what is there for them? that's why we have so many of the situations in baltimore, in chicago and other places, and at least do a straight pipeline to why we got 1.2 million of them sitting in the prisons. would you help us with that? >> congressman -- >> i would love to work with you on that. >> i want to assure you that we recognize how serious the problems are that you have discussed, and we take our employment mandate extremely seriously. and we've been doing everything that we can to promote a stronger labor market that will benefit african-americans. >> would you really consider getting an african-american for the first time in history to be
a regional president of a federal reserve bank for the first time in history? >> absolutely. it's our job to make sure that every search for those jobs assembles a broad and diverse group of candidates. and i regret that there hasn't been an appointment of an -- >> time for the gentleman has been expired. >> thank you,
mr. chairman. >> the chair now recognizes the gentleman from florida, mr. posey. >> thank you, mr. chairman. madam chair, the number one thing i hear from the local community banks and credit unions is the need for regulatory relief. that's not news to you obviously either. and these financial institutions provide critical services to our communities and they're worried the overregulation is hurting not only their ability to
provide those services but eventually is clearly leaning to increased industry consolidation. i'd ask you what you consider to be the negative consequences, if any, that result from consolidation and the effects on the local and national economy. >> i think community banks play a vital role in supplying credit to
groups of borrowers who larger banks often would not be able to serve. and that is a vital role in all communities throughout the country. so we want to see those banks thrive and are very focused on ways that we can reduce burden on those banks. i mentioned earlier some of the things that we have tried to do
to reduce burden, and we will continue looking through the agripper process and by the regular meetings and contact that we have with community bankers to address the burdens that they face and look for ways to simplify regulation and reduce burden. >> madam chair, do you think that relationship lending is important? >> it's been very important often for community banks in the kind of business that they do, so yes. >> just a quick follow-up. can you identify some areas of priority at the fed for reducing regulatory burdens on community banks? >> yes. so we have been focusing, for example, on the duration of our on-site reviews and looking for ways to have our examiners spend
less time on bank premises. we've been looking at ways and have simplified and tried to tailor our preexamination requests for documentation. we have been conducting extensive training for examiners to make sure that our guidance is preferably interpreted and implied in ways that are cons t consiste consistent. we have a number in which we try to help community bankers understand what new regulations or proposals are relevant to them and which ones are not intended at all for their organizations. as i mentioned, the process is ongoing and we have been holding. around the country to hear the concerns for banks with
regulatory burden and will take all of the steps that we probably can to address the concerns that surface. we meet regularly with community bankers through an organization called cdiac which is composed of representatives from each of the 12 federal reserve districts. they come to the board and we meet with them twice a year, the full board of governors, to discuss their concerns and we follow up on what we hear. >> thank you. this week the house is considering legislation that would require the administration to put forth a detailed plan to reduce the national dekt when ever the debt limit is increased. common sense concept, i believe. we also just received the president's budget request, which would in the face of a 19 trillion, we just passed a 19
trillion mark on the debt clock, increased spending by $2.5 trillion. when the president took office the national debt was roughly 0 $10 trillion. when he leaves office the debt is expected to have doubled to about $20 trillion. you have also voiced your concerns about the impact of failing to raise the debt limit. failing to pay our bills, citing the impact it would have on the economy. i don't disagree but i'm curious, do you have similar concerns about the impact on the economy of failing to address our national debt? how much debt do you think is too much? >> well, i think if you look at the path that the u.s. debt is on under current policies, it will rise from the present level to levels well above 100% of gdp and continue rising more or less indefinitely.
and wherever you draw the line, you've got to conclude that that's an uh-unsustainable econc situation. so i think it's essential that congress address this longer on budget deficit issue. >> time of the gentleman has expired. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from texas, mr. green, the ranking member of the oversight investigation subcommittee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i thank ms. yellen for appearing today as well. and mr. chairman, and ms. yellen, of course ranking member, i want you to know that there has not been some sort of conspiracy among congressional black caucus members to bring up this issue of black unemployment. although i think we do talk about it among ourselves quite regularly. but i do believe that a basic premise that may be of help to us is a notion that in the beginning was the word. and not enough talk takes place
among those who have the power to influence public policy with reference to african-american unemployment. to this end, i am concerned and would ask if you have in your statement given a specific reference to african-american unemployment and the statement that you made today? and i apologize if i missed it. but was there a specific reference to african-american unemployment? >> i referenced an answer to a previous question, the very high rates of unemployment of african-americans, that persist even with current aggregate. >> if i may -- let me share this thought to you. if it ises and i believe you are in agreement that it is a serious problem. not just a problem. >> i certainly agree. >> if it is a serious problem, i would ask that you make it a part of your actual statement
that you present and that you publish it and that you continue to say to those of us who can make a difference and we should be able to make the difference here in congress, we have the responsibility here to focus as well. but if you would make it a part of your statement and if you would publish this, i think it can have a meaningful impact on policymakers up and down the line. so just a small request but i think it would make a really big difference. so i'm going to ask that you do. >> i'm certainly open to doing so. i'll certainly take that seriously. >> thank you. now, let's move to the tailor rule for just a moment. you have indicated that the taylor rule would be a great mistake and that it would be detrimental to the economy and the american people. could you in about one minute give some examples or an example of how it would be detrimental to the economy? that's saort of a nebulous term
and i think you should provide some clarity. >> well, sometimes it provides recommendations for what monetary policy should be that clearly overlook important circumstances. >> if i may, madam chair. would you kindly explain the impact that it will have on the economy. what would the impact be if it causes us to do something inappropriate and i'll let you decide what's inappropriate. >> well, either it would have a set of monetary policy that would result in much higher unemployment than would be desirable or, alternatively, there could be circumstances in which it would recommend an accommodative policy that would result in extremely high inflation. now, i would say right now is an example. the taylor rule would -- close .
and i think in light of the slow growth in the u.s. economy and the fact that we have needed to hold the federal funds rate for almost seven years, for seven years at zero to achieve the progress that we have made, that setting it at the level that it would now recommend would be highly damaging to the economic situation. and we've tried to provide some analysis in the monetary policy report we submitted about what -- why that is. and in particular, this idea that the neutral fed funds rate, because of the damage from the financial crisis -- >> i must reclaim my time because i have one additional thing that i must say. i appreciate your commentary and i think a good many people have
the point. i want to say this. we have some people that are visiting today. i don't want to have a response from them but i want to acknowledge their presence because they're concerned about wages. they're concerned about wages across the board, especially as they impact working people. people who are on salaries. people who make minimumsen unded
of stress. one of the main reasons for this a peerps to be recent regulatory reform as supposed me meant tear ratio custody banks typically place cash receives on deposit with the federal reserve. it comes from pension funds and other clients. however, the leverage ratio does not recognize the essentially riskless nature of fed deposit or necessity of these placements by custodians. this may cause the leading custody banks to reject customer cash deposit. my question is, is the federal reserve aware of the impact that this may be having on custody banks and, if so, what do you propose to do about it?
>> well, this is something that was considered what is the appropriate treatment of central bank deposits when the supplementary ratio was adopted. and a decision was made at the time that the leverage ratio is not our main capital tool but a backup capital tool that is intended to, in a crude kind of way, base capital requirements on the overall size of a firm's balance sheet and that for that reason it should be included. we have more recently put in place capital surcharges that apply to the eight largest u.s. banking organizations, including two custody banks. and it's likely that once those are in place that they will
become the binding capital requirement. but -- >> i would encourage you to take a look at that because it's an issue for the bank. >> we've heard of the problem and i will -- >> as you know, chair yellen, the bank of japan announced negative interest rate policy in an effort to increase funding and investment and spur growth. it follows on the heels of the european bank announcement in march and economists have predicted that sweden, denmark, norway, canada, australia, china may follow suit. in a recent editorial in the "wall street journal" the former president of the federal reserve bank of st. louis argued these sorts of monetary policy gimmicks will not create their intended effects and instead will only serve to divert at engine the from the actual structural problems that have plagued growth in the u.s. and around the world in the last decade. regulatory burpd dense and tax policies that serve to constrain business investment and long-term growth. what do you say in response to
mr. poe? >> i agree there are structural factors that have restrained u.s. growth and i've also been responsible for rising inequality in the labor market and it's important to take steps to address those problems. they are steps in the domain of congress. but it's important for the fed to try to achieve its mandate of having ensuring a state of the labor market where people who want to work are able to find jobs where there are a sufficient number of them and given the stress situations that exist in europe where there remains very high unemployment, and in japan where inflation has for well over a decade undershot their inflation objective, it's a tool that has proven useful to
them. >> i want to talk a little bit, you testified earlier over the past number of years the fed kept federal funds rate at exceptionally low levels and with that you testified that even with this, quote, exceptional, close quote, strategy, the economy achieved 2% growth. and you add we, quote, economy has been held back by headwinds. i wonder if these headwinds are man mate or to borrow a phrase here in the united states and i could identify some. the affordable care act, a lost reform bill that missed the mark, frankly, epa regulations, and these headwinds have hit folks in my district like a mom who now has to pay 400 bucks for her kid where she used to pay ten. and a coal miner taking care of a 5-year-old, 3-year-old, and 1-year-old, won't be able to pay for his mortgage. when the economic history of this decade is written, the fed tried to do with monetary policy
what should have been done with fiscal policy. >> well, i think it's also important for congress to address structural factors that are holding down growth. >> tape of the gentleman has expired. the chair now recognizes gentleman from missouri, mr. cleaver, ranking member of housing and insurance subcommittee. >> thank you for being here, madam chair. following through some things that were said earlier, i have a bad knee and i've had it operated on 11 times. and -- but the weird thing is that whenever i go to the hospital for another surgery, they never operate on my shoulder or my fingers. for some strange reason they always operate on the same knee that's been hurter. and i know that's weird. the issue is, we can't address
unemployment in a certain sector by saying we can operate on the whole body and it gets better. it's never been true. now, i differ a little from my colleagues in that i don't think it's your responsibility. i don't think the fed has a responsibility even with the dual mandate. i think it is to be handled legislate tively and i don't think we're going to get that done. the other thing i'm going to have to say and every time you come out and say it and we have to get off my chest, the because i do think that we're declaring minority unemployment too big to curtail. and that's somewhat troublesome. but you know, the wall street and the big six banks, you know, are too big to jail.
and, you know, you rob a convenience store you go to jail. you rob 300 million americans, you get a cocktail. and i think that's what's creating all of this anger around the country. i know you don't run the justice department. and i know you don't vote on legislation that could address some of these other issues. i think we got to say it as much as we can because i don't think -- i don't think the world is hearing us. now, i will like to yield now the remainder of my time to the ranking member of the financial services committee. >> thank you very much, mr. cleaver. as you know originally i was thinking about dealing with the question of the subpoena, et cetera, except if you don't mind, i am so focused on out of this money that goes to these too big to fail banks. and trying to understand, number
one, not only the fact that g d goldman sachs got $121 million, jpmorgan, $910 million, and that with the rise in interest rates from a 25% to 50%, this will double. this money keeps -- it's going to big banks. it's a subsidy to keep them from lending money and we have this big need that's being discussed by my colleagues about this high unemployment rate. and the lack of creativity and thinking about how we can deal with this and these banks too big to fail who we are fining evidence because of the predatory lentzing shs et cetera, are getting support from the feds. please, please explain that. >> it's an essential tool that we need to adjust the level of short-term interest rates. and from the standpoint of the
taxpayer, our payment of those interest on reserves, we have very large reserve balances. we have $2.5 trillion roughly of reserves in the banking system as compared with 20 or $30 billion prior to the crisis. the counterpart of that on our balance sheet is that we hold a very large stock of assets on which we are earning a substantially higher rate of return than we are paying to the banks. and that differential between what we earn on our holdings of long-term treasuries and mortgage-backed securities and the 25 or 50 basis points we paid to the banks, that differential all shows up in the taxpayers pocket. it is money that congress can
use to address all of the problems that you have discussed. over the last year, we transferred $100 billion because of that. now, if we don't pay interest on reserves, and must use another technique to adjust short-term interest rates, likely we will be forced to greatly shrink our balance sheet in a rapid fashion and the total amount of money going from the federal reserve to congress will be significantly diminished. in addition to that, it would have very adverse effects on the economy. >> well, i want you to know that not only am i concerned, it looks like we are about to have some bipartisan concern on this issue. >> i hear that. >> while i understand the argument that you're making about the big banks, we cannot feel sorry for them in terms of the amount of interest rates, you know, that they are getting
or not getting, et cetera. we really do have to deal with this issue. i understand what you are trying to explain by short-term interest rates, but if i may, madam, let me just -- let me just say this. that we have an opportunity with t this to allow for loans from some of these small community banks that they are not getting. and if that money went into the small community banks, they would be able to do job creation and to support small businesses, et cetera, and we just don't get why they are precluded from doing this and increasing the job opportunities in the community while we are given this subsidy to the big banks. we just don't get it. >> although i agree with much of the ranking member has said, she has long since spent her time. the chair now recognizes the gentlelady from utah, ms. love. >> thank you, mr. chairman.
thank you, chair yellen, for being here today. chair yellen, i'm increasingly concerned about the impact of dodd frank regulations on real economy economic growth and especially job creation, which i'd like to just ask you a few questions about. if you look beyond the headlines, the headline numbers from last friday's jobs numbers and includes discouraged workers and the underemployment, real underemployment -- real unemployment remains high, nearly 10%. in addition, millions of people have stopped looking for jobs. they have dropped out of the workforce. and it's a dynamic that is driving the nation's workforce participation rate to an all-time low at 62.7%. and i want you to know that i agree with my colleague on the other side of the aisle, representative scott, when he talks about the large number of unemployment with our young black americans.
meanwhile, economic growth of slow to just 0.7% in the fourth quarter. i'm concerned that the fed and other financial regulators may not have a firm grip on the cumulative impact on the real economy of thousands of pages of the new dodd-frank regulations. especially new capital and liquidity rules. i'm wondering if you share some of those concerns. >> well, i recognize that some of the new concerns are burdensome and do raise banks, cost to financial intermediation. in designing those regulations we're always trying to achieve a balance between the benefits of creating a sounder and more resilient financial system that is less likely to be subject to the kind of devastating financial crisis that we had.
we're balancing that against burdens that can raise the cost of capital or diminish financial intermediation. and we have tried to strike reasonable balance remember that the financial crisis, nothing resulted in more harm for a longer period of time than the financial crisis that we lived through. and i think we now have a much safer and sounder financial system. >> okay. so another study by the american action forum found that consumer credit availability deteriorated 12% to 14% since the passage of dodd-frank. i'm also concerned that the growing number of borrowers unable to access affordable banking, bank financing, a lot of borrowers from districts, low-income districts, low-income areas in my district, west valley, these are hardworking
americans that have -- that are turning to high costs and unregulated online lenders to be able to get the access to the credit that they need, whether it's purchasing a car or even starting a small business. they're finding that their ability to access this type of credit is unavailable to them. and so i'm wondering if you also share some of my concerns about credit availability in the higher costs alternatives. >> well, i do share your concerns about credit availability and i think it's clear that credit availability has, in particular, segments been diminished. home loans, mortgage, for example, for individuals without pristine credit ratings is really difficult, remains difficult to obtain. in part we have regulations that are meant to address harms. i think lending standards were too easy prior to the financial crisis.
we don't want to go back to lending standards that are so loose that they lead to the kinds of predatory lending and harms that we had that took a toll on the economy and on low-income households and communities. we need to achieve a reasonable balance and we're searching on that. >> being on the subcommittee of monetary policy i wanted to ask you a quick question on monetary policy and what's happening in europe and what are the implications. i may have stepped out of the room. i don't know if you addressed this. quickly, implications of european financial instability on the american financial system. what are the implications of the federal reserve and the ecb pursuing divergent monetary policies? >> well, the ecb has been ideaing high unemployment and inflation that slipped very meaningfully below their 2% goal by putting in place negative
interest rates and large-scale asset purchase programs. the u.s. has done better. we're among advanced economies, about the strongest. so we have divergent monetary policies. it's put upward pressure on the dollar over a long period of time, which is harmed manufacturing and exports. so it has resulted in negative influences on the part of our economy. >> time of the gentle lady has expired. the chair now recognizes a gentleman from missouri, mr. clay, ranking member of the subcommittee. >> thank you, mr. chairman. and thank you for being here. the federal reserve has a congressional dual mandate to seek maximum employment while limiting inflation. to limit inflation the federal reserve raises interest rates which slows the economy by discouraging people from borrowing, to buy homes or cars,
and discouraging businesses from investing investing. but this reduced demand, businesses will hire fewer workers and, as a result, workers will have less bargaining power, meaning they will be less likely to get paid -- pay increases. the decision to raise interest rates based on assessment of the open market committee of the federal reserve, about whether inflation or unemployment poses a greater threat to the american economy. unfortunately the members of the fomc largely come from the financial industry and, as a result, tend to be more concerned about inflation than the population as a whole. and less concerned about unemployment. so how do we square that? madam chair. >> first of all, i want to say that the committee is deeply
focussed on unemployment. we have two objectives, not one, maximum employment, price stability which we have interpreted as 2% to 2% inflation objective. and i would really take issue with the idea that we are not focused on achieving our maximum employment objective. we are. monetary policy has been highly accommodative. the fed funds rate was at zero for seven years. and we also have a large balance sheet that is provided a lot of additional accommodation. so we are not talking about tightening monetary policy or a tight monetary policy. we have an economy that now has made substantial progress creating 13 million jobs with the unemployment rate down to
14.9%. we took one small step to to raise short-term interest rates but continue to have an accommodative monetary policy which we see as consistent with further progress in the labor market. so it's not that we're trying to reverse progress. we continue to see even with modest increases and interest rates, further progress and we want to achieve it precisely because we think that although the unemployment rate is at levels that are probably normal in the longer run, they remain slack in the labor market and we want to see more progress. >> not to cut you off, although we could get to 4% unemployment. but, look, while we are pleased to see that new jobs are continuing to be created in our economy and to learn that the unemployment rate last month fell below 5% broadly, these
positive signs may lead some to ignore the persistent economic challenges faced by african-americans in this country. the current unemployment rate for african-americans, for example, remains at nearly 9%. it is a commonly accepted view, access to gainful employment is one of the most important factors in supporting economic mobility and improving health outcome. it is also widely known that in areas where higher rates of unemployment there is a lack of consumption, increased crime rates, reduced school funding, and reduced political shuliolit. please discuss with us any actions you've taken or directed your staff to take to identify
solutions to help remedy the historical and continued ratio disparity between employment opportunity for african-americans and whites. >> so our staff produces statistics that are among the most important in documenting and highlighting disparities in the economic situations in terms of assets and income by demographic groups. and i have personally given speeches highlighting those statistics. so our staff certainly looks at and does work to document those disparities. and in our community development programs and work we discussed earlier that relates to the cra, that's an area in which we have
the capacity to try to identify particular programs that will be helpful in low and moderate income communities that suffer from special disadvantage in the labor market and to try to identify programs that work that we encourage to be adapted on a broader scale. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. >> i'd like to work more with you in that area. >> the chair now recognizes the gentleman from north carolina, mr. pittinger. >> thank you, mr. chairman. i would like to just welcome those who have come today with your t-shirts on, what recovery? let our wages grow. whose recovery? very pointed and clear statements. i really commend you for being here and seeing this progress. yes, the reality is that this recovery is the most dismal, slowest, tepid recovery we've ever had from a recession in recorded history.
and we look at the realities of this recovery. this last report of new jobs was only 150,000 new jobs. we have 2% dismal economic growth. we have the people who, frankly, demographic group that is the lowest recovery is the low-income minority people in this country. that demographic group has moved up the ladder less than any other group, albeit an intense effort, well intended, i'm sure, by the obama administration, by chair yellen, but through it what we have seen is very accommodative monetary policy, high regulatory environment, we've seen obamacare, we've seen the highest corporate tax rates in the industrialized world. all of this has achieved this dismal recovery. and i would say to you the
contrast is, back in the '70s we had the same type of dismal economic outlook. high inflation, high unemployment. and yet what happened? we reduced regulatory environment. we reduced the tax burden. and the economy took off. we were creating 300,000, 400,000, 500,000 jobs a month. one month a million jobs. we were growing up to 6%. it seems to me that logic may come in. perhaps well-intended policies have had an adverse affect, adverse outcome of what was ever intended. chair yellen, i commend you for your work and what you've sought to do, but it seems to me with these accommodative e ivive pol have contributed to where we are today. i would say, chair yellen, i would like to thank you and your remarks that you made reference to the fact that there are those
who are available to work but not actively searching for work. you've also made reference to working those who are working part time and can't get full-time jobs. now, these numbers are not included in the current unemployment rate of 4.9%. so reality we're really talking around 10%, 11%, 12% of the stats that i have seen of real unemployment. would that be correct, chair yell snn. >> broader measures of unemployment are significantly higher. for example, a definition that the bls refers to is u-6 that includes both of the groups you mentioned, involuntary part-time -- >> i want to make -- >> discouraged -- >> 4.9%. it's disingenuous to say to the american people these policies have contributed toward 4.9% unemployment. reality it's in the real world where people are living and some of them are here today, it's far
less. and i think that should be understood and absorbed by these wonderful people who come that the types of policies that have been enacted, been enforced, this last seven years, have worked against your interests. and what grew the american economy was small businesses who could go get loans, an entrepreneur, the life blood of our economy, can't go to a bank today to get that new loan because of compliance requirements. they are the people who create those new jobs. and on top of that, you have the burden of the obligations of obamacare and small business. what are they doing? cutting jobs so they don't have to comply. what will grow your economy? what will create the jobs that you earnestly want is an open market where companies can grow and not have this intense regulatory environment, where there's through monetary
accommodative policy or through onerous regulatory environments placed upon them. i want to encourage you with that reality that we can find that type of opportunity economy. i would say to you, chair yellen, the regulatory rule book, it's been a constant state of revision over the last six years. can you see the benefit then as a result of what we discussed and pausing this process in order to assess the community impact these regulations are having on the economy before we proceed further? >> well, we have several regulations that we intend to put out during this coming year. and in terms of the list of what was mandated by dodd frank, we've made substantial progress. >> consider that outcome -- we're seeing today, i think it needs to be done. >> time. time of the gentleman has expired. the chair wishes to remind members we expect to excuse the
witness as close to 1:00 as possible. the chair anticipates getting through perhaps four more members. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from the super bowl champion denver broncos, mr. perl. >> thanks, mr. chair. and chair yellen, thank you as always for being here today. and i was going to go a little off topic with my first question to say how about those broncos. but -- >> way to go. >> the chair already beat me to the punch. but i do want to talk about your overall conversation today. i want to thank you and i want to thank the federal reserve. i want to start with the chart that we have on the board which is really shows what happened at the end of the bush administration when we went to 10% unemployment. under obama, we're down to less than half of that. okay? so that's your chart number two in your monetary report. although the republicans don't want to let the facts get in the
ray of the way of their rhetoric buzz then chart number four shows that after some time -- and that's on page 5, chair -- ways are beginning to move up after we started getting people back into the job market. chart six, oil prices way down. chart seven, inflation even. chart 13, wealthy income, disposable income up, quote, a robust 3.5%. chart 15, household debt service, way down. chart 20, mortgage rates, down. figure one on page 37, unemployment down, looking at the long-term and core price inflation, even. those are your charts. those are the facts. now, have wages gone up as much as we would like to see? no, but we had to get a lot of people back working. now we're starting to see them
move. so the chair went through a whole list of economists because obvious his didn't have a lot of questions. he wanted to list a lot of names. there were a couple of guys there with the hoover institute. you know, so herbert hoover, grand old republican president who led sbus tus into the grade depression. not the kind of economy i would like to see. all right. george bush, we go from 5% unemployment to 10% unemployment. we lose millions of jobs. under barack obama, back down to 4.9%. in colorado, we're at 3.5%. so i just want to thank you and i want to thank the administration for getting this economy back on track. now, can we do better? you bet. how would you suggest that we do better, how this economy can get moving so that the folks here can see some real growth in wages, which i think are beginning to appear, or what
would you suggest? >> so our objective in terms of what we can do is to try to make sure that the picture that you have put up here shows continuing improvement in the labor market. i agree with you, i would say the signs of wage growth increasing, they're tentative at this point. there are some hopeful signs but i think if the labor market continues to progress, we are very hopeful we will see faster progress on wages. and we'll try to keep that progress going. that's our objective. inflation is running under our 2% objective. i expect that will move up over time as well with appropriate policy. but i appreciate you're saying that some of the burden should also be on congress and others because there are so many problems in the labor market and
in particular groups we've talked a lot about african-americans and the problems they face. they're not the fed of course has a role to play but job training, educational programs, programs that address other barriers in the labor market. i think this is congress' job to address. productivity growth is very low. i think congress has always had a role in supporting basic research, making sure that the infrastructure of our country is adequa adequate. and you know, putting in place programs that make sure that training and education are widely available. >> all right. let me move to a soft spot that i think exists in the economy. and you and i have talked about it before and that's on oil and gas. and the fact that the saudi arabians are pumping like crazy
into what appears to be an oversupplied market causing the price to drop a lot. which in some ways is very good for all of us because it saves us $10, $15, 20 bucks a week or a month in our price at the pump. but it also is causing some job losses in the manufacturing sectors, oil and gas obviously, transportation. can you comment on what the fed is doing or reviewing when it comes to oil and gas production? >> so we're taking account, as you said, of the fact that the energy sector is very hard hit. we're losing jobs there. but with respect to employment, it's -- although there really are very severe losses, it's a pretty small sector of the workforce overall. we're seeing massive cutbacks in drilling activity. and that's rippling through to
manufacturing generally where output is depressed. so it is having negative consequences. on the other hand, if you look at the difference in oil prices now relative2014, for the average american household, we're looking at a savings of a thousand dollars a year. and that's boosting consumer spending, and we have got these two negative force, positive forces, we're trying to factor all of that in. >> the time of the gentleman has expired. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from illinois, mr. holtgren. >> thank you, mr. chairman. as you may know the financial crimes enforcement network or finsen is in the process of finalizing new requirements under its beneficial ownership rules. while i fully support efforts to curb terrorism financing, it seems the application of finsen's rule to certain nonbank
subsidiaries like premium finance companies may not be appropriate. i understand that my staff already is talking with the fed about this issue, but wondered if i could get a commitment from you today about trying to find clarification for if these rules apply to premium finance companies that are subsidiaries of banks. >> i'm sure we're happy to work with you on that. >> thank you so much. when you testified before the committee back in november 4th of 2015, we discussed the impact of the supplementary leverage ratio on custody banks. at that time you described it as a kind of backup ratio that works as a backup to risk based capital standards. when responding to questions from congressman rothfus, you stated when the supplementary leverage ratio becomes effective, it will likely become the binding capital requirement for some custody banks. i understand some of these custody banks already feel they must discourage customer cash deposits. these institutions have highly liquid, low risk balance sheets
that support client needs. in light of this concern, will the fed consider adjusting the capital requirements for excess cash deposits, held with the federal reserve? >> so i'm not sure if they will become -- if the supplementary leverage ratio will become the binding constraint or not. i didn't intend to say that it is the binding constraint. there will also be so-called siffy capital surcharges that will come into effect that may make those the binding constraint. i mean, this is a matter that i understand what the issue is, we can look at it and discuss it, it was debated at the time. there were considerations on both sides, and a decision was made to include fed deposits. you know, it is something we can look at, but it was considered. >> i hope we are able to discuss
that and also look and see if it is necessary for us to have congressional intervention as far as legislation to change the rule. let me move on. i'm pleased by the news that the federal reserve has been engaged with the insurance industry on rules. what are your thoughts on how that process is proceeding and when might we expect to see proposed rules from the federal reserve released for public comment? >> we're working very hard on that. i don't have an exact timetable, but we are expecting to go out with -- for each of the firms notice of proposed rule-making, so the public can react to these rules. the staff is fairly far along in developing these, so my hope is it won't be too much longer. we have worked hard to have the appropriate interactions with the firms and other regulators to do this right. >> i appreciate your work on that. from illinois, insurance is
important, we got some wonderful companies there. they got questions and i appreciate interaction and hopefully resolution relatively quickly. one last question, will the federal reserve issue propose capital rule for all insurers it supervises and if you can explain why or why not? >> i'm not positive. i think for the particular civvies designated ig and metlife, they're likely to be firm specific rules, but i'm not positive. let me get back to you on that. >> thank you. thank you, chairman yellen. i have an additional minute that i'll yield back. >> gentleman yields back. the chair recognizes gentleman from minnesota, mr. allison. >> thank you, mr. chairman and ranking member. as we start out, i also want to thank some of the folks who have joined us for the hearing today,
good friend of ron harris is here from minneapolis, good to see you, ron. and i want to let you know that this active citizenship of coming to these hearings, watching things is exactly what is needed in order for this government to function properly in my view, this is what democracy looks like. thank you, all, for being here. let me, miss yellen, chairman yellen, let me point your attention to the words of mr. nariana who is a former minneapolis fed chair, outgoing president of the federal reserve bank of minneapolis. he made -- on martin luther king day, he wrote a blog and here is what he said there is one key source of economic difference in american life that is likely underemphasized in the fomc deliberations race. he went on to say that for the year -- he went on to say he searched through the transcripts of the fomc meetings the year
2010, first year on the committee, and a dire year for african-americans in our labor market and that year a total unemployment rating ceded 9.25% every quarter, but for african-americans, 15.5%. today, now, white unemployment in minnesota is 2.9% as of december 2015, black unemployment is 14.1%. and in minneapolis, white unemployment is 4%, but overall white unemployment is 4%, but black unemployment is a shocking 18.9%. so i say that because, i mean, this is something that i think needs the attention of the chair. and you may -- i don't know what constraints you believe are out there, but, you know, people -- race matters when it comes to
how people experience our economy. and if we don't discuss it, talk about it, then we won't ever get to the heart of the matter to how to fix it, to make equal justice for all. and so i guess my question, you know, and i'll quote one more time, he said as well as we all know too well, race matters, the average african-american experience with the economy is different than the afternoon white person's. my question is, what do you make of the commentary from the previous minneapolis fed president, in your view is there adequate discussion, attention of the economic situation of african-american workers within fomc deliberations? and if there is not, i suspect you'll say there's not, what can we do about it, how can we focus the committee's attention on this segment of our fellow americans? >> so it is, of course, important that we look at
different groups and particularly those who are suffering the most in the labor market. and i'm surprised there was no specific mention of race. it is -- in 2010, the unemployment rate was substantially higher than it was. the committee was very focused at the time on what we could do to promote a stronger labor market. and i suppose because our tools are not ones that can be targeted at particular groups in the labor market, it was clear what we needed to do and that was to support a stronger labor market more generally. >> forgive me for the interruption, i definitely think that i get that part, but i would rather talk prospectively. the past is what happened and there is no change in it.
how can the fed chair get the fomc to say, wait a minute, not all americans, particularly african-americans are experiencing this upsurge in economic activity. for black americans, we're still in the midst of a very serious depression recession. what can we do about it. and again, i'm not here to say -- to wag my finger about what happened, we know what happened and it wasn't right. but in terms of what is happening now and what can happen, what can you tell me? >> i think you're right, that we should pay adequate attention to how different groups are faring in the labor market. we have made clear that we don't focus on any single statistic that the unemployment rate is only one measure of what is happening in the labor market, and it is appropriate for us to really try to do a much more
detailed assessment of where things stand and what we should be aiming for. >> time of the gentleman has expired. the chair anticipates calling upon two more members, mr. bar and mr. delany and then excusing the witness. the chair now recognizes the gentleman from kentucky, mr. bar. >> thank you, mr. chairman. chair yellen, thanks for being back before us. the last time you were here we talked about a qualified clo concept and you were kind enough to respond to that question in writing. i want to thank you for that and particularly thank you for recognizing that the qualified clo concept could be considered a positive development in the market. and i'd like to continue our discussion about the role that regulation could very well play in terms of being a source of economic instability, particularly in our capital markets. the