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Trump's Fed pick Powell will continue Yellen's path 'unless he's crazy,' says ex-Fed vice chair

  • Janet Yellen has "set the course both for interest rates and for the diminution of the size of the balance sheet," former Fed Vice Chairman Alan Blinder said.
  • "Jay Powell, unless he's crazy, and he's not, is just going to continue going down that path," Blinder said.

Jerome Powell, if confirmed by the Senate to be the next Federal Reserve chairman, will likely follow the path his predecessor has set, former Fed Vice Chairman Alan Blinder said Friday.

"Janet Yellen already and before she leaves has set the course both for interest rates and for the diminution of the size of the balance sheet," said Blinder, now an economist at Princeton.

"Jay Powell, unless he's crazy, and he's not, is just going to continue going down that path," Blinder added in an interview on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street."

President Donald Trump on Thursday nominated Powell, a Fed governor and a former investment banker, to lead the central bank after Yellen's term expires in February. Powell has worked alongside Yellen for the past five years, backing her direction on monetary policy.

When asked whether Powell would have a tougher or easier job than Yellen, Blinder said in the near term it is "going to be exactly the same. It's business as usual."

"The economy seems to be on a pretty steady track," Blinder said. "Not what the 'Trumpies' would like it to be, but a good pace of growth, including the pace of job growth and no signs of an acceleration of inflation."

He spoke after the Labor Department said Friday that the economy added 261,000 jobs in October, a pickup from September, and the unemployment rate dropped to 4.1 percent.

Also on "Squawk on the Street" was Jan Hatzius, chief economist at Goldman Sachs, who said he expects the new Fed won't be "dramatically different," even if Trump makes additional appointments.

"I wouldn't expect a major change," Hatzius said. "I think Jay Powell as chairman is not going to be dramatically different."

"This is a large committee. Decisions are made on a committee basis," he added.

Also watch: Goldman's top economist weighs in on Friday's jobs report

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