Jerome Powell

Jerome Powell

2/4/1953 - present

Jerome Hayden Powell is an American lawyer, currently the 16th Chair of the Federal Reserve serving the office since 2018. He holds a degree in Politics from Princeton University and a Juris Doctor from Georgetown University Law Center. Powell has also been an active member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors since 2012.

More About Jerome Powell

Professional Experience

Academic History

  • Unlike his recent predecessors had primarily private sector experience (vs academic)

Federal Reserve Under Jerome Powell

  • Overall his Fed was much different than under past chairman
  • For most of 2018 focused on the real economy - not stock market performance
  • Fed Officials rarely issue public comments outside of official Fed events ( far more public statements under Yellen & Bernanke)
  • Directed the FED to look for new methods to measure REAL economic levels (past measurements have been manipulated)
  • Adopted a policy that fed focus was on reaching  a "neutral interest rate" without concern of stock market valuations
  • Oversaw a Hawkish Fed policy 2018:  multiple rate hikes and QE on Autopilot
  • Didn't waiver in 2018 as Emerging Markets crashed (some think because of Fed Policy Tightening)
  • Claims that the Fed is Data Dependent (not driven by market performance)

Jan 2018 - Dec 2018 Policy

  • Fed policy was set on 3-4 rate hikes/year
  • Page of QT would reach $50B/month and stay there
  • Not concerned about EM problems caused by this
  • Only a major crisis would change this

Jan 2019 Policy Shift

  • Said that he'd consider changing balanced sheet policy if needed (1/4/19)
  • Said that he might end QT earlier than expected (1/25/19)
  • Suggested that there may be no more rate hikes in 2019 (even with historically low unemployment)
  • Criticism that Powell shifted to supporting the markets vs. normalizing policy (Powell Put) after market declines in Dec 2018
  • One of the biggest Fed reversals / policy shifts in history
  • Potential Reasons for Policy Shift
  • Jan 30, 2019 is the day he publicly became concerned about stock markets (like Bernanke and Yellen before him)

Notable Actions / Speeches

  • Indicated that the Fed would raise rates above the neutral rate and that we weren't at the neutral rate yet  (October 2018)