Due to malware problems, I didn’t post on the Fed’s most recent FOMC statement. Here it is. Nothing changed; that is, the federal funds target rate will remain in the 0 to 1/4 percent range, and the Fed will continue to purchase Treasuries pursuant to QEII. That said, there was this interesting snippet (emphasis mine):
Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability. Currently, the unemployment rate remains elevated, and measures of underlying inflation continue to be somewhat low, relative to levels that the Committee judges to be consistent, over the longer run, with its dual mandate. The recent increases in the prices of energy and other commodities are currently putting upward pressure on inflation. The Committee expects these effects to be transitory, but it will pay close attention to the evolution of inflation and inflation expectations. The Committee continues to anticipate a gradual return to higher levels of resource utilization in a context of price stability.
What they’re talking about here is the Phillips Curve, which says that with low inflation comes high unemployment. Conversely, higher inflation brings lower unemployment.
In the present case, the FOMC doesn’t think the upward pressure on inflation will be lasting; thus, the committee anticipates that the employment picture will improve, but only gradually. And, it appears, that improvement will will not come because of an increase in the federal funds target rate–not anytime soon anyway.