Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said Friday that the case for raising interest rates has strengthened in light of a solid job market and an improved outlook for the US economy and inflation, reports the AP. So does that mean rates are going up? We'll have to stay tuned, because Yellen declined to hint at whether the Fed might raise them at its next policy meeting, Sept. 20-21, or at its subsequent meeting in mid-December. The Wall Street Journal thinks the answer may hinge on the Sept. 2 jobs report.
"In light of the continued solid performance of the labor market and our outlook for economic activity and inflation, I believe the case for an increase (in the Fed's benchmark borrowing rate) has strengthened in recent months," said Yellen in her speech to an annual conference of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. She sketched a generally upbeat assessment of the economy, pointing to steady gains in employment and consumer spending. She also noted that while inflation is still running below the Fed's 2% target, it is being depressed mainly by temporary factors. The markets seem pleased, with all three major indexes up about a half-percentage point in the immediate wake of the speech. (Read more Janet Yellen stories.)