By Dow Jones Business News, October 18, 2013, 05:45:00 PM EDT
CHICAGO--A Federal Reserve president said Friday the central bank's policy setting arm won't have enough new
information to act at its next meeting because of garbled economic data from the government shutdown and unreliable
"I don't think we have enough positive information going into the next meeting to decide," Chicago Federal Reserve
President Charles Evans said Friday afternoon. Mr. Evans is a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee this
year. The FOMC's next meeting concludes Oct. 30.
Mr. Evans had said the government shutdown probably wouldn't have any real effect on the compilation of economic data,
but modified that position. "There's probably going to be some noise in those series," he said, referring to economic
data straddling the more than two-week government shutdown.
"I guess we're going to need a little more accumulation of numbers," he said during a media question-and-answer
session at the Financial Management Association Annual Meeting Luncheon.
Earlier Friday, the Cleveland Fed said in a report that the labor department's October consumer price data will be
skewed and warned the accuracy of the CPI may be affected for months to come.
A Chicago Fed spokesman also said the bank would be delaying the release of one of its major indicators, the National
Activity Index, with no new date given for release.
Mr. Evans' suspicion of data compiled immediately after the shutdown adds to his well-known skepticism of recent
unemployment numbers. Although the unemployment rate has been falling, the number of people dropping out of the labor
force--those who have given up on finding work--has been increasing.
"Most recent unemployment reports have made me uncomfortable," Mr. Evans said. "The reduction in the labor force
continues to surprise me."
And if this litany of uncertainty wasn't enough, Mr. Evans said interest rates haven't been consistent long enough for
get stable data anyhow. "The current period of interest rates hasn't been around long enough to see an effect on data,"
Mr. Evans also said FOMC meetings don't always have to hinge on huge policy swings every time they're convened. "At
some of the old meetings," Mr. Evans reminded with a wry smile, "they weren't even a close call."
Write to Ben Kesling at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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