Jerome Powell: Navigating a New Course?

Case Solution

Daniel Murphy
Darden School of Business ()

In February 2018, Jerome Powell assumed the chairmanship of the FOMC. At first glance, the macroeconomic conditions Powell inherited seemed conducive to continued stability: Unemployment and inflation were low, and the economy had grown steadily for nearly a decade. However, despite the appearance of stability, the economy faced significant risks that required the attention of the Federal Reserve. Was inflation threatened, and if so, should Powell raise rates to contain inflationary pressures? Or was the economy still below capacity, and if so, should the Federal Reserve take a more accommodating stance? To get perspective, Powell had to look back at the last fifty years of monetary policy in the United States.

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