Unemployed Take Their Case to Fed Officials at Jackson Hole
Reuters - August 23, 2014, by Michael Flahery - Reginald Rounds was among those present at the Federal Reserve's high-flying monetary conference here, enjoying the chance to button hole two top officials of the U.S. central bank.
The St. Louis resident is neither an economist nor a central banker. He's a 57-year-old unemployed worker, who said he is trained in the green technology field and can't find a job.
He was among a group of activists who gathered on the sidelines of the Fed's annual symposium wearing green t-shirts with "What Recovery?" on the front and a chart depicting sluggish U.S. wage growth on the back.
"From the world where I reside, there is no recovery. We need a boost. We need a jump start," said Rounds. "The key is jobs creation."
The ten activists, most of whom were unemployed and seeking jobs, were sent as emissaries for a coalition of advocacy groups that has launched an unusual campaign from the left to press the U.S. central bank to keep monetary policy easy.
The coalition, consisting of more than 70 organizations, released an open letter to Fed officials earlier this week urging them to hold off on interest rate hikes until wages were rising more swiftly.
While small in number, the activists managed to get a great deal of face time with senior officials. On Thursday, they spoke with the host of the conference, Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank President Esther George, for two hours.
On Friday, Fed Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer stepped out of the conference to spend ten minutes to listen to their plight.