Fed Chair Yellen had a health scare during a speech, but she’s feeling fine now

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen gave a scare Thursday while giving a speech on monetary policy and inflation at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

Near the end of her prepared remarks, Yellen appeared to be experiencing some physical discomfort. She paused several times to cough before saying she would stop.

“[I]f the economy surprises us, our judgments about appropriate monetary policy will change,” she said. “Let me stop there. Thank you.”

She gathered her notes, gave several smiles, and stuck around to be presented with a gift before she made her way offstage.

Several news outlets reported that she proceeded to receive medical attention, but now she seems to be in the clear.

“Chair Yellen felt dehydrated at the end of a long speech under bright lights,” a Fed representative said in a statement. “As a precaution, she was seen by EMT staff on site at UMass Amherst. She felt fine afterward and has continued with her schedule Thursday evening.”

“Shauna Rice, director of administration at UMass emergency medical services, separately confirmed that Yellen is all right and did not got to the hospital,” Bloomberg reported.

Citing school spokesman Ed Blaguszewski, Bloomberg also reported that Yellen was heading to a scheduled dinner.

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Yellen stopped several times near the end of her remarks.
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BloombergTV

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She covered her mouth as she released some air.
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Bloomberg TV

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The gentleman who was ready to present Yellen with a gift offered some assistance.
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BloombergTV

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She supported herself by putting her hands on her hips.
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Bloomberg TV

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But in the end, she appeared okay. Yellen gave a few smiles to the audience before heading off.
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Bloomberg TV

Yellen argued that should inflation as well as the economy meet the Fed’s expectations, then we could see the Fed begin to tighten monetary policy with interest rate hikes.

“I expect that inflation will return to 2% over the next few years as the temporary factors that are currently weighing on inflation wane, provided that economic growth continues to be strong enough to complete the return to maximum employment and long-run inflation expectations remain well anchored,” she said.

But inflation is a complicated thing. Below are 9 charts on inflation Yellen shared during her presentation.


The Fed hasn’t always been successful about keeping prices stable.

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Federal Reserve

Lately, inflation has been very low.

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Federal Reserve

People might not like inflation, but real wages adjust for inflation.

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Federal Reserve

Since the financial crisis, achieving both price stability AND maximum employment has been difficult.

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Federal Reserve

Inflation expectations play an important role in what actually happens with prices.

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Federal Reserve

The overall effect various factors have on inflation depends on whether they also affect long-run inflation expectations.

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Federal Reserve

Evidence suggests inflation expectations are well anchored.

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Federal Reserve

Much of the recent shortfall of inflation from the Fed’s 2% objective is attributable to transitory special factors.

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Federal Reserve

The outlook, of course, is uncertain. Just look at Japan.

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Federal Reserve