Federal Reserve officials are weighing a number of factors over whether it should raise the national interest rate following Chair Janet Yellen's speech last Friday about the U.S.' monetary policy. Most officials in the Fed reportedly back a rate hike and many insiders seem to be resigned to the fact that it's not a matter of if, but when the increase takes place.
Here are five points Fed officials are likely taking into consideration when making a decision about how to treat the interest rate.
1. Incoming Economic Data
Federal Reserve Vice Chairman Stanley Fischer is taking somewhat of a hurry-up-and-wait approach in deciding whether to raise the interest rate, telling Bloomberg in part that it all depends on key information that could provide an indication of future productivity growth.
"It depends enormously on what private individuals are doing in their companies, and it’s very slow at the moment," Fischer told Bloomberg.
2. Politics As Usual
Officials are unsure if raising the interest rate prior to Election Day is a good idea, as the reactions from Republican nominee Donald Trump and his Democratic counterpart Hillary Clinton could work in one candidate's favor over the other. As of now, a rate hike could come as soon as September or as late as December.
“The Fed doesn’t want to be accused of playing politics,” Brian Milligan, portfolio manager of the Ave Maria Growth Fund, told Time.
3. Yellen's Influence
The chair of the Fed made her case last week to a national audience in favor of an interest rate hike, and if history is any indication, she will likely get her way. She and the Fed in 2015 raised the interest to 0.50 percent, which is where it stands now. At the time, it was the first interest rate hike since 2006.
"I believe the case for an increase in the federal funds rate has strengthened in recent months," Yellen said Friday in Jackson's Hole, Wyoming.
4. Jobs Report
July's job report could be what sways the Fed to move to raise the interest rate or leave it as-is, USA Today reported. It is likely part of the economic date to which Fischer was referring. The U.S. added 255,000 jobs in July, which increased the likelihood of a Fed interest rate hike, according to Reuters. If the trend holds true for August, it would seem to be all but a guarantee that another interest rate increase is in store for the U.S. August's job's report is scheduled to be published Friday.
5. The Markets
The conventional wisdom is that the Fed follows the markets, but after a robust July jobs report, that may not be the case this time around, Carl Tannenbaum, chief economist at Northern Trust, told CNBC Monday.
"At some point, if the Fed thinks the market misunderstands, there's a very clear way that they can realign those expectations, and that's by saying, look our economy is in very fine shape," Tannenbaum said. "It's different from others, so we don't have to do what other central banks are going to do, and in order to avoid financial excess down the road, we're going to remove just a little bit of excessive monetary accommodation."