Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at Allianz SE, said the Federal Reserve could raise interest rates by September after February’s payroll report signaled strong momentum in the U.S. labor market.
The U.S. added 295,000 jobs in February, the 12th straight month payrolls have increased by at least 200,000, cutting the unemployment rate to 5.5 percent. The improvements were impressive since they occured “in the context of a relentlessly strong dollar and bad weather,” El-Erian said Friday in an interview with Bloomberg Television.
The Fed has held borrowing costs near zero since 2008 after the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression sent unemployment to 10 percent. Chair Janet Yellen has said she wants to see signs of inflation and wage growth before raising rates. El-Erian said the Fed is also driven by concern that the markets increasingly accept zero as normal.
“They see reasons to start moving,” said El-Erian. “On the issue of wage growth, it’s a matter of time.”
El-Erian, 56, a Bloomberg View columnist, was the former chief executive officer of Pacific Investment Management Co. until he left last year.
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