Powell's stark message: Inflation fight may cause recession

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell speaks at a news conference Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2022, at the Federal Reserve Board Building, in Washington. Intensifying its fight against chronically high inflation, the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by a substantial three-quarters of a point for a third straight time, an aggressive pace that is heightening the risk of an eventual recession. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Federal Reserve delivered its bluntest reckoning Wednesday of what it will take to finally tame painfully high inflation: Slower growth, higher unemployment and potentially a recession.

Speaking at a news conference, Chair Jerome Powell acknowledged what many economists have been saying for months: That the Fed's goal of engineering a “soft landing” — in which it would manage to slow growth enough to curb inflation but not so much as to cause a recession — looks increasingly unlikely.

“The chances of a soft landing,” Powell said, “are likely to diminish” as the Fed steadily raises borrowing costs to slow the worst streak of inflation in four decades. “No one knows whether this process will lead to a recession or, if so, how significant that recession would be.”

Before