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St. Louis Fed Admits QE May Lead To Rise Rather Than Drop In Unemployment

And the stunners: Ironically, economic growth was higher in the years of slow money growth (3.7 percent) than it was in the years of rapid growth (3.2 percent). The same was true for industrial production. Meanwhile, the consumer price index rose 5.1 percent in years of above-average monetary growth and just 2.6 per- cent in below-average years. It is, in fact, as we have always expected: QE not only does not result in relative economic outperformence (the opposite), it simply leads to higher inflation, and subdued economic growth. And the Chairman of the Federal Reserve was not aware of this data? And while this too is more than obvious, anyone could have foreseen the impact QE/LSAP would have on precious metals: The gold price showed an even bigger differential, rising 12.5 percent in above-average years and just 0.6 percent in below-average years. Perhaps the above explains why we have been bullish on the precious metals complex since March 18, 2009 (official start of QE1). Alternatively it may just be our long-running bet that Bernanke will fail in his attempt at instituting central planning effectively, and the outcome will be the end of the monetary system in its current iteration. And before skeptics accuse the St Louis Fed, which has sometimes been defined as hawkish (although we have yet to see James Bullard vote in the "against" column during an FOMC decision), this is a finding that has been replicated elsewhere on not just one occasion. Other recent analyses, using different tools, have reached similar conclusions. In my current research, I have esti- mated models for the period 1948:Q1 to 2008:Q2 that sug- gest that a sustained increase of 1 percentage point in the growth rate of the monetary base has almost no impact on unemployment during the initial 20 quarters but can significantly increase the unemployment rate in the longer run (say, during the subsequent 20 quarters). Extrapolated to the very long run, my analysis suggests that a sustained 1-percent-per-year faster growth of the monetary base might increase the unemployment rate by between 1.0 and 2.2 percentage points. The reason is that expected long-term inflation is bad for growth and employment.

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