Economy

Warren Buffett says no textbook could have predicted the strange economy we have today

Key Points
  • Buffett highlights that unemployment remains so low, yet interest rates and inflation are not rising. At the same time the U.S. government continues to spend more money than it takes in.
  • These conditions are not sustainable for the long term, Buffett says.
  • "No economics textbook I know that was written in the first couple of thousand years that discussed even the possibility that you could have this sort of situation continue and have all variables stay more or less the same," he says.
VIDEO12:2812:28
Watch CNBC's full interview with Warren Buffett at Berkshire Hathaway's investor event

OMAHA, Neb. — The current economic environment is one that no one could have seen coming, Warren Buffett said.

In an CNBC interview that aired Friday, Buffett noted that unemployment is at generation lows, yet inflation and interest rates are not rising. While at the same time the U.S. government continues to spend more money than it takes in.

"No economics textbook I know that was written in the first couple of thousand years that discussed even the possibility that you could have this sort of situation continue and have all variables stay more or less the same," Buffett told CNBC's Becky Quick on Thursday ahead of the annual Berkshire Hathaway shareholders meeting in Omaha on Saturday.

The Labor Department said Friday the unemployment rate fell to 3.6% in April, the lowest since 1969. However, inflation was up just 1.6% on a year-over-year basis in March. That's well below the Federal Reserve's 2% inflation target. The overnight interest rate is also below historical levels despite four rate hikes in 2018. The central bank, at its meeting this week, kept rates unchanged at a target range of 2.25% to 2.50%

These conditions are not sustainable for the long term, Buffett said.

"I don't think our present conditions can exist in terms of fiscal and monetary policy and various other elements across the political landscape," he said. "I think it will change, I don't know when, or to what degree. But I don't think this can be done without leading to other things."

Buffett, in his pre-shareholders meeting interview that aired on "Squawk Box," also revealed that Berkshire Hathaway has been buying shares of Amazon. However, he said Berkshire has not changed its Apple stake.

The "Oracle of Omaha" also spoke out for the first time about how quickly his $10 billion role in the Anadarko saga came together.

The billionaire chairman of Berkshire also weighed in on the challenges bankers face in Washington, saying anyone on Wall Street who takes the vacant Wells Fargo CEO job "would be pinatas from now until the election time."

Subscribe to CNBC on YouTube.