The tension between high jobless rates and inflation worries is a key one for the Fed, which has a dual mandate of maintaining price stability and maximum employment. In Roberts's opinion, Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke seems to be more concerned with boosting the labor market.
"He'd rather be the Fed chairman who presided over 3 percent inflation than 20 percent unemployment," he says.
Danielle Kurtzleben is a business and economics reporter for U.S. News & World Report. Connect with her on Twitter at @titonka or via E-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
UPDATED 9/13/12: This story was updated to include quotes from Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke’s Thursday press conference. CORRECTED 9/13/12: The initial version of this story misstated the Fed’s guidance on low interest rates. The Fed says it believes the federal funds rate is likely to be exceptionally low through mid-2015. This version also corrects a quote from Doug Roberts.