Observations from Dennis Lockhart’s Naples Talk
Last Friday, Jennifer and I attended a speech by Dennis Lockhart, President of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta and a member of the Federal Open Market Committee. Given his position in setting interest rate policy, every word he said was evaluated by the audience organized by First Florida Integrity Bank and the Naples Area Chamber of Commerce.
His comments were generally positive in regard to the overall economy and expectations of 3% Gross Domestic Product growth while inflation should remain moderate. One interesting fact was that there is now 2 million more people employed now than prior to the financial crisis.
Given the strong employment report for January released Friday morning, the focus of the speech and questions was when would the Federal Reserve raise interest rates and how much? Mr. Lockhart did provide guidance of potential time of June to September for a policy change. He further emphasized the importance of economic confidence as a key factor in the decision to raise interest rates at that time.
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