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Despite job gains, the Fed's 'soft-landing' narrative is looking suspect

The Federal Reserve building is seen before the Federal Reserve board is expected to signal plans to raise interest rates in March as it focuses on fighting inflation in Washington, U.S., January 26, 2022.
Joshua Roberts | Reuters

Maybe Friday's jobs report showed the economy has room to expand. Maybe inflation won't kill what has been a resilient consumer. Maybe the Ukraine war won't disrupt global supply chains enough to stymie growth.

And maybe a flurry of interest rate hikes won't trump everything else and drag the U.S. into recession.

All of those "maybes" are now confronting the Federal Reserve and making the central bank's challenge not to ruin the economic expansion all the more difficult.

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