Transcripts of the monetary policymaking body of the Federal Reserve from 2002–2008.

As a short extension to the last discussion, I think we’re all waiting for the number that we believe is the better number to record employment growth. The payroll survey had started to act the way it should if we’re going to have a self-sustaining recovery here. I know everybody was disappointed with the December numbers. I’m looking at your chart 10, the bar chart on nonfarm payroll employment going into 2004. Granted, the last half of 2003 did show employment growing, and that’s a good thing. It certainly is moving in the right direction. But how confident are we about the jump in the bars from the last half of 2003 to the first half of 2004? We seem to keep revising our thinking about productivity based on backward-looking disappointments, if you will, about the strength of hiring. Do we have other evidence that gives us some confidence that this increase is going to take place?

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