The economy is solid and "zombie inflation" is lurking outside, but hasn't started knocking on the door yet, a former economist at the Federal Reserve told CNBC on Tuesday.
"Friday's jobs number could easily be above 200,000. Then I think the Fed is going to get very, very antsy," Kevin Hassett, director of Economic Policy Studies at the American Enterprise Institute said in a "Squawk Box" interview. The reading on non-farm jobs in the July employment report is expected to be up 183,000, according to the Wall Street consensus estimate.
"At that point, we're going to have 'Night of the Living Fed,' where they start tapering and everybody freaks out," he added. "I think that may well be September when it starts."
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The Fed kicked-off its two-day policy meeting in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, as Wall Street continues to play the guessing-game on when the central bank will begin to scale back its $85-billion-a-month bond-buying program.