Yesterday the Federal Reserve got itself out of the semantic corner it had painted itself into for months.
It stopped saying it won't raise rates "for a considerable period of time," and now says, in essence, it can be patient in deciding when to raise interest rates.
In one sense, it's just stating the obvious, that with the economy growing it's next move will be to raise rates -- the only question is when?
And of course that's also the BIG question.
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
Follow the news that matters to you. Create your own
alert to be notified on topics you're interested in.
Or, visit Popular Alerts
Will it take a lot more jobs growth and falling unemployment? That's one more reason to watch the market reaction to today's new claims for jobless benefits. The Labor Department said 342,000 people filed new claims for state unemployment benefits in the week ended Jan. 24, compared with a revised 343,000 the prior week. Economists, on average, expected about 340,000 new claims.
Important to remember though that it's one thing for the majority of firms to stop laying off workers. A majority still has to start hiring workers, creating jobs, growing incomes and better worker security , for the labor market to be healthy and the Fed to be comfortable lifting rates.
Kathleen Hays anchors CNN Money Morning and The FlipSide, airing Monday to Friday on CNNfn. As part of CNN's Business News team, she is also a regular contributor to Lou Dobbs Tonight.