IMF’s chief says U.S. jobs will improve

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IMF’s chief says U.S. jobs will improve

Christine Lagarde, the International Monetary Fund’s managing director, said the number of jobs created in the United States is “not at potential,” as regulatory and policy uncertainties deter companies from hiring.

In an interview with Fox News, Lagarde also urged the European Central Bank to address the euro region’s risk of low inflation and said Ukraine’s government must adopt some of the measures it has pledged to take before receiving IMF money.

U.S. payrolls rose 192,000 in March, the Labor Department reported April 3, compared with the median forecast of 200,000 in a Bloomberg survey of 90 economists.

The numbers “could be and they should be higher,” Lagarde said in the interview transcript Fox released today. “What is holding us back is probably a degree of uncertainty, a lack of confidence, the fact that a lot of companies are investing into themselves more than actually investing into capacity and in job creation.”

The rise of geopolitical tensions including in Ukraine, along with risks of prolonged ultra-low inflation in advanced economies and of volatility in emerging markets, may cloud the world’s economic outlook, Lagarde said earlier this week in a speech in Washington.

In the interview on Fox’s “Sunday Morning Futures with Maria Bartiromo,” Lagarde said policy makers have a responsibility to create the conditions to boost growth. To get there, she said she wants finance ministers and central bankers from the IMF’s 188 member countries to confront these challenges when they meet in Washington next week.

Asked about recent comments by ECB President Mario Draghi retorting the IMF’s advice to the central bank, Lagarde said the fund’s recommendation for more monetary easing, including with the use of unconventional measures, has been consistent for a few months.

Draghi earlier this week quipped that the IMF has been “extremely generous in its suggestions” to him on monetary policy, in a way that it isn’t with the U.S. Federal Reserve. Lagarde said she also makes recommendations to the Fed.

“We do say what we have to say when we think that it’s appropriate to say it,” she said. “We had for a long time taken the view that the ECB should be addressing the issue of inflation, targeting within the right range, the right level.”

After a preliminary agreement last month, the IMF executive board has yet to approve a loan for Ukraine of between $14 billion and $18 billion, Lagarde also said.


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