News / USA

Yellen Nominated to Head Fed

President Barack Obama applauds as he walks out of the State Dining Room of the White House with outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (R) and Janet Yellen, his nominee to replace Bernanke, in Washington, Oct. 9, 2013.
President Barack Obama applauds as he walks out of the State Dining Room of the White House with outgoing Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke (R) and Janet Yellen, his nominee to replace Bernanke, in Washington, Oct. 9, 2013.
Jim Randle
President Barack Obama has nominated Janet Yellen to head the U.S. Federal Reserve.  If confirmed by the Senate, she would be the first woman to lead the central bank for the world's largest economy.  Yellen is currently the second-in-command at the Fed, and many economists say she is likely to continue its efforts to boost economic growth and lower unemployment by cutting short and long-term interest rates.  

Obama came into office during the worst recession in decades, and opinion polls show the economy remains a top issue for voters.

Janet Yellen

  • Served as vice chair of Federal Reserve since 2010
  • President of Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco 2004-2010
  • White House Council of Economic Advisers 1997-1999
  • Earned Doctorate in economics from Yale University in 1971
  • Member of the Council on Foreign Relations and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • Born in 1946 in Brooklyn, New York
Unemployment has improved recently, but slowly, giving 67-year-old former Berkeley professor and long-time Fed official Janet Yellen a tough job. Obama says he has confidence in her.

"One of the nation's foremost economists and policymakers, current vice chairman, Janet Yellen," said President Obama.

Yellen says she understands the plight of the nation's millions of unemployed people.

"While we have made progress, we have farther to go.  The mandate of the Federal Reserve is to serve all the American people, and too many Americans still cannot find a job, and worry how they will pay their bills and provide for their families," said Yellen.

Yellen would replace Ben Bernanke, whose second term as head of the U.S. central bank ends in January. Obama praised his skill, creativity and courage in using unprecedented tactics to cope with severe economic problems.  

Under Bernanke's leadership, the Fed cut short-term interest rates to near zero, and has been trying to cut long-term rates with an $85 billion-a-month program of buying certain securities.

The Fed will have to decide how soon and how quickly to end this stimulus effort.  Economists say if the support is withdrawn too quickly, the economy could lapse back into recession.  If stimulus efforts go on for too long, however, they could spark inflation that could harm the economy.

Economist Joseph Gagnon of the Peterson Institute for International Economics, who previously worked at the Fed, says Yellen probably will continue Bernanke's policies.  
"I think Janet Yellen is fairly close to Ben Bernanke in terms of how she thinks about the economy," said Gagnon.

Gagnon says Yellen is also likely to continue Bernanke's collegial, academic style of dealing with the Fed governors, seeking consensus on economic policy.  

While Yellen brings continuity to the Fed, she is also the first woman to hold the job.  Marcy Syms, former chair and CEO of SYMS Corp who served on a board of small business advisors to the Federal Reserve of New York, says Yellen could inspire a generation of little girls.  

"It is a really big deal for the future of women going into science and math, something that this country desperately needs," said Syms.

Some analysts say Yellen is likely to be confirmed by the Senate, with votes from President Obama's Democratic Party allies and some moderate Republicans.  

Obama's other candidate for the job, former Treasury secretary and presidential adviser Larry Summers, withdrew his name from consideration in the face of opposition from Senate Democrats.

You May Like

Nearly Every Job in America Mapped in Detail

A nifty map pinpoints practically every job in the United States, revealing the economic character of America’s metropolitan areas, which also helps to inform the local culture

Corruption Busting Is Her Game

South African activist is building 'international online community of thousands of corruption fighters'

Former SAF Businessman Gives Books, Love of Reading to Students

Steve Tsakaris now involved in nonprofit Read to Rise, which distributes books in Soweto, encourages lower-grade primary school students to read

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continuesi
Ayesha Tanzeem
November 25, 2015 10:46 PM
One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Belgium-Germany Border Remains Porous, Even As Manhunt For Paris Attacker Continues

One of the suspected gunmen in the Nov. 13 Paris attacks, Salah Abdeslam, evaded law enforcement, made his way to Belgium, and is now believed to have fled to Germany. VOA correspondent Ayesha Tanzeem makes the journey across the border from Belgium into Germany to see how porous the borders really are.

Video Islamic State Unfazed by Losses in Iraq, Syria

Progress in the U.S.-led effort to beat Islamic State on its home turf in Iraq and Syria has led some to speculate the terror group may be growing desperate. But counterterror officials say that is not the case, and warn the recent spate of terror attacks is merely part of the group’s evolution. VOA National Security correspondent Jeff Seldin has more.

Video Taiwan Looks for Role in South China Sea Dispute

The Taiwanese government is one of several that claims territory in the hotly contested South China Sea, but Taipei has long been sidelined in the dispute, overshadowed by China. Now, as the Philippines challenges Beijing’s claims in an international court at The Hague, Taipei is looking to publicly assert its claims. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.

Video Syrian Refugees in US Express Concern for Those Left Behind

Syrian immigrants in the United States are concerned about the negative tide of public opinion and the politicians who want to block a U.S. plan to accept 10,000 Syrian refugees. Zlatica Hoke reports many Americans are fighting to dispel suspicions linking refugees to terrorists.

Video After Paris Attacks, France Steps Up Fight Against IS

The November 13 Paris attacks have drawn increased attention to Syria, where many of the suspected perpetrators are said to have received training. French President Francois Hollande is working to build a broad international coalition to defeat Islamic State in Syria and in Iraq. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video US, Cambodian Navies Pair Up in Gulf of Thailand

The U.S. Navy has deployed one of its newest and most advanced ships to Cambodia to conduct joint training drills in the Gulf of Thailand. Riding hull-to-hull with Cambodian ships, the seamen of the USS Fort Worth are executing joint-training drills that will help build relations in Southeast Asia. David Boyle reports for VOA from Preah Sihanouk province.

Video Americans Sharpen Focus on Terrorism

Washington will be quieter than usual this week due to the Thanksgiving holiday, even as Americans across the nation register heightened concerns over possible terrorist threats. VOA’s Michael Bowman reports new polling data from ABC News and the Washington Post newspaper show an electorate increasingly focused on security issues after the deadly Islamic State attacks in Paris.

Video World Leaders Head to Paris for Climate Deal

Heads of state from nearly 80 countries are heading to Paris (November 30-December 11) to craft a global climate change agreement. The new accord will replace the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change that expired in 2012.

Video Uncertain Future for Syrian Refugee Resettlement in Illinois

For the trickle of Syrian refugees finding new homes in the Midwest city of Chicago, the call to end resettlement in many U.S. states is adding another dimension to their long journey fleeing war. Organizations working to help them integrate say the backlash since the Paris attacks is both harming and helping their efforts to provide refugees sanctuary. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.

Video Creating Physical Virtual Reality With Tiny Drones

As many computer gamers know, virtual reality is a three-dimensional picture, projected inside special googles. It can fool your brain into thinking the computer world is the real world. But If you try to touch it, it’s not there. Now Canadian researchers say it may be possible to create a physical virtual reality using tiny drones. VOA’s George Putic reports.

Video New American Indian Village Takes Visitors Back in Time

There is precious little opportunity to experience what life was like in the United States before its colonization by European settlers. Now, an American Indian village built in a park outside Washington is taking visitors back in time to experience the way of life of America's indigenous people. Carol Pearson narrates this report from VOA's June Soh.

Video Even With Hometown Liberated, Yazidi Refugees Fear Return

While the northern Iraqi town of Sinjar has been liberated from Islamic State forces, it's not clear whether Yazidi residents who fled the militants will now return home. VOA’s Mahmut Bozarslan talked with Yazidis, a religious and ethnic minority, at a Turkish refugee camp in Diyarbakır. Robert Raffaele narrates his report.

Video Nairobi Tailors Make Pope Francis’ Vestments

To ensure the pope is properly attired during his visit, the Kenya Conference of Catholic Bishops asked the Dolly Craft Sewing Project in the Nairobi slum of Kangemi to make the pope's vestments, the garments he will wear during the various ceremonies. Jill Craig reports.

Video Cross-Border Terrorism Puts Europe’s Passport-Free Travel in Doubt

The fallout from the Islamic State terror attacks in Paris has put the future of Europe’s passport-free travel area, known as the "Schengen Zone," in doubt. Several of the perpetrators were known to intelligence agencies, but were not intercepted. Henry Ridgwell reports from London European ministers are to hold an emergency meeting Friday in Brussels to look at ways of improving security.

Video El Niño Brings Unexpected Fish From Mexico to California

Fish in an unexpected spectrum of sizes, shapes and colors are moving north, through El Niño's warm currents from Mexican waters to the Pacific Ocean off California’s coast. El Nino is the periodic warming of the eastern and central Pacific Ocean. As Faiza Elmasry tells us, this phenomenon thrills scientists and gives anglers the chance of a once-in-a-lifetime big catch. Faith Lapidus narrates.

Video Terrorism in Many Forms Continues to Plague Africa

While the world's attention is on Paris in the wake of Friday night's deadly attacks, terrorism from various sides remains a looming threat in many African countries. Nigerian cities have been targeted this week by attacks many believe were staged by the violent Islamist group Boko Haram. In addition, residents in many regions are forced to flee their homes as they are terrorized by armed militias. Zlatica Hoke reports.

Video Study: Underage Marriage Rate Higher for Females in Pakistan

While attitudes about the societal role of females in Pakistan are evolving, research by child advocacy group Plan International suggests that underage marriage of girls remains a particularly big issue in the country. VOA’s Ayesha Tanzeem reports how such marriages leads to further social problems.

VOA Blogs