In fact, when minutes of the most recent meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee meeting were released Wednesday afternoon, some observers were surprised by the number of members who appeared to believe rate increases should come relatively soon.
The issue of interest rates is tied inextricably to the job market. The Fed has what's known as a "dual mandate" from Congress. The central bank is charged with maintaining price stability, meaning an acceptably low level of inflation, and with attaining maximum employment.
The question of how quickly the economy is moving toward full employment is key to any decision about interest rates. If the job market tightens, wages should rise, which results in inflationary pressure on prices. Raising interest rates is a counter to inflationary pressure.
But right now, there is disagreement about how close the economy really is to full employment. With the current rate at 6.2 percent, nobody is arguing that we are anywhere near there yet. But while some economists believe the economy is approaching a point at which wage growth is inevitable, others, particularly Yellen, believe there is more "slack" in the labor market than the official unemployment rate measures.
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The theory—backed up by the Reuters-Ipsos finding— is that many workers who are not now considered part of the workforce, will continue filtering back into the ranks of those looking for work as the economy continues to improve. Because of the way we measure the unemployment rate, which doesn't count people who have given up looking for work, the return of people to the labor force can have the effect of keeping unemployment high even as the economy adds jobs.