Markets & Economy

Fed is closer to a rate hike than many assume

Yellen whispers 'Bang' but doesn't shoot

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The world is a better-looking place than one week ago, and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen whispered "Bang" today but did not shoot. Thus the great barometer, the 10-year U.S. Treasury note, rose a bit in yield, from 2.33 percent last week to 2.4 percent today, mortgages following. At the end of each August the Kansas City Fed hosts a meeting of the world's central bankers in Jackson Hole, together with economist and media hangers-on. In theory, a casual affair, so let your visual imagination run. We used to think of Alan Greenspan sitting by the campfire in his three-piece pinstripes, leading the singing of sad cowboy songs with new lyrics about the need to wreck economies in order to save them. Yellen has a wonderful Brooklyn sense of humor. Consider her barely 5-foot frame in waders headed out into the Snake River. Her speech this morning was a detailed rundown on a labor market that has "yet to fully recover." The whispered bang was in this line: "But if progress in the...