Fed's Barkin says workers, not inflation, are his focus

FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin poses during a break at a Dallas Fed conference on technology in Dallas, Texas, U.S., May 23, 2019. REUTERS/Ann Saphir/File Photo

(Reuters) – Richmond Federal Reserve President Thomas Barkin on Monday said he is more worried about the labor market than possible excess inflation as he assesses the effects of the pandemic, the rollout of vaccines, and past and future fiscal relief on the economic outlook.

“I do worry about adjustments that businesses have made,” including automation and other adaptations that could make it more difficult for people who lost jobs in the recession to find new ones, Barkin told CNBC in an interview. Fiscal relief is likely “to support spending over several years” and even if there is inflation, the Fed has the tools to control it, he said.

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