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Expand chart
Data: Axios analysis of Powell's speeches and interviews; Graphic: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Fed chairman Jerome Powell has spoken a lot about the risk of inflation overshooting its 2% target, but only recently has he discussed the risk of a persistent undershoot.

Why it matters: This "reinforces a generational change in Fed thinking from fear-of- inflation-too-high to fear-of-inflation-too-low," as Tony Dwyer, chief market strategist at Canaccord Genuity, said in a tweet.

Between the lines: Under usual circumstances, the Fed's two mandates work against each other: Maximizing employment usually is cover for the Fed to cut rates, while the price stability mandate has been used to justify rate hikes.

  • Over the last several years, the Fed has been raising rates despite inflation falling below target. Yellen made the case that the Fed could raise rates "more slowly," should weak inflation persist.
  • It's not that the Fed couldn't have made the case for a cut based on soft inflation readings — they just didn't. That's much easier now that interest rates have come up from 0%.

Go deeper

9 hours ago - Health

Food banks feel the strain without holiday volunteers

People wait in line at Food Bank Community Kitchen on Nov. 25 in New York City. Photo: Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Food Bank For New York City

America's food banks are sounding the alarm during this unprecedented holiday season.

The big picture: Soup kitchens and charities, usually brimming with holiday volunteers, are getting far less help.

11 hours ago - Health

AstraZeneca CEO: "We need to do an additional study" on COVID vaccine

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

AstraZeneca CEO Pascal Soriot said on Thursday the company is likely to start a new global trial to measure how effective its coronavirus vaccine is, Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: Following Phase 3 trials, Oxford and AstraZeneca said their vaccine was 90% effective in people who got a half dose followed by a full dose, and 62% effective in people who got two full doses.

Updated 13 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus cases rose 10% in the week before Thanksgiving.
  2. Politics: Supreme Court backs religious groups on New York coronavirus restrictions.
  3. World: Expert says COVID vaccine likely won't be available in Africa until Q2 of 2021 — Europeans extend lockdowns.
  4. Economy: The winners and losers of the COVID holiday season.
  5. Education: National standardized tests delayed until 2022.