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Fed may allow labor tightness to persist -adviser

STORY: In carefully scripted remarks at a Fed research conference in which Powell was interviewed by a top U.S. central bank staffer, the Fed chief reiterated that the central bank would now make decisions "meeting by meeting," but also flagged that after a year of aggressive rate increases, officials "can afford to look at the data and the evolving outlook to make careful assessments."

U.S. policymakers remain on the fence about their upcoming policy decision, and will receive important jobs and inflation data in coming weeks that could sway the debate within the central bank's rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee.

Powell said he felt that data so far "support the committee's view that bringing inflation down will take some time." He noted, for example, that some of the factors that may keep inflation elevated, such as the tight labor market, have yet to ease - particularly in the service industries where inflation is proving more persistent.