Powell Bets the Fed Can Slow Inflation Despite Recession Fears

The Federal Reserve’s push to slow the economy and bring inflation under control is often compared to an airplane descent, one that could end in a soft landing, a bumpy one or an outright crash.

Jerome H. Powell, the Fed chair, is betting on something more akin to the Miracle on the Hudson: a touchdown that is gentle, all things considered, and unlike anything the nation has seen before.

The Fed has raised rates sharply over the past year, pushing them just above 5 percent on Wednesday, in a bid to cool the economy to bring inflation under control. Staff economists at the central bank have begun to forecast that America is likely to tip into a recession later this year as the Fed’s substantial policy moves combine with turmoil in the banking sector to snuff out growth.

But Mr. Powell made it clear during a news conference on Wednesday that he does not agree.

“That’s not my own most likely case,” he said, explaining that he expects modest growth this year. That sunnier forecast has hinged, in part, on trends in the labor market.

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