Fed’s Patrick Harker says jobs recovery will be slow, inflation at 2.5% would be OK

Patrick T. Harker, president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

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Philadelphia Federal Reserve President Patrick Harker said Friday that it will take a significant amount of time before the U.S. sees unemployment figures return to their pre-coronavirus lows.

Harker, a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee, also said he would be comfortable allowing inflation to rise as high as 3% so long as it does so at a slow and manageable rate.

He joined CNBC’s “Squawk Box” to discuss the central bank’s new inflation goal, which Chairman Jerome Powell announced Thursday.

“Right now, you’re seeing some signs of recovery, but basically it’s moving sideways,” Harker said of the U.S. labor market. “We still have 27 million that are on some form of unemployment and we won’t get fully back to the kind of employment — we had this great employment

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