|Fed nominee Yellen promises to strengthen economic recovery
US President Barack Obama nominated economist Janet Yellen to lead the Federal Reserve in a move expected to sustain the Fed's easy money policies and its focus on cutting joblessness.
If approved, Yellen would replace outgoing Ben Bernanke as chair of the central bank next February.
Obama called the first woman named to take the helm at the Fed “exceptionally qualified,’’ saying she is “committed to increasing employment.''
“America's workers and families will have a champion in Janet,'' Obama said at a White House ceremony, flanked by Yellen and Bernanke, AFP reports.
“She is a proven leader, and she's tough. Not just because she is from Brooklyn,'' he quipped.
Obama said Yellen “sounded the alarm early'' about the housing and financial bubbles that led to the 2008-2009 recession.
“She doesn't have a crystal ball, but what she does have is a keen understanding of how the markets and the economy work, not just in theory but also in the real world,'' he added.
Yellen made clear Wednesday that she would not break with the US central bank's current easy-money policies aimed at pushing down unemployment, still high at 7.3 percent in August.
“More needs to be done to strengthen the recovery, particularly for those hardest hit by the Great Recession,'' she said as she accepted Obama's nomination.
“The mandate of the Federal Reserve is to serve all the American people. And too many Americans still can't find a job, and worry how they'll pay their bills and provide for their families.''
Yellen, 67, a deeply respected economist with years of experience in academia and the central bank, has served as Fed vice chairman since 2010.
In that time she has been closely tied to key policy changes, including setting targets for inflation and unemployment, and making the thinking of Fed policymakers more open, to help markets better understand their direction.
New York-born Yellen studied economics at Brown University and then Yale, where she earned a doctorate.
She is married to economics Nobel prize winner George Akerlof, who teaches at the University of California, Berkeley. Both are known for taking economic texts to the beach on vacation.
Her nomination was not a surprise after the presumed favorite, former Treasury secretary Lawrence Summers, pulled out of the running due to opposition from Obama's Democratic allies in the Senate.
Yellen's nomination requires Senate confirmation.