"I'm very anxious about it", the Fed chief told participants of The Economic Club of Washington, DC on Thursday.
He also anxious about the lack of key economic statistics during the government shutdown that the Fed uses to take the temperature of the economy.
Investors will be looking for new clues on USA interest rate policy when Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks before the Economic Club of Washington on Thursday afternoon.
Asked what qualifies for "normal", Powell said "I don't know the exact level."He noted that the balance sheet has declined to about $4 trillion, but that before the 2008 crisis it was below $1 trillion".
"We're in a place where we can be patient and flexible and wait and see what does evolve, and I think for the meantime we're waiting and watching", Powell said in a question-and-answer session Thursday at the Economic Club of Washington, D.C. Echoing remarks by Chairman Jerome Powell earlier in the day, Clarida said the Fed can afford to be patient in determining its monetary stance.
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Powell's second appearance in less than a week generated a subdued response in financial markets, a sign he may have found his footing in how to describe central bank policy without surprising investors.
In that appearance Powell emphasized the Fed's flexibility and patience in evaluating data, easing expectations of steady rate hikes in a message amplified by a half dozen other Fed officials in recent days. The Fed's communications - and a Bloomberg News report that President Donald Trump had discussed firing Powell - helping bring on the worst December for stocks since the Great Depression. The principal worry is global growth, he said in questioning by David Rubenstein, the co-founder of private-equity firm Carlyle Group, where Powell was previously a partner.
The Fed raised rates for a fourth time in 2018 at its December meeting and signaled that it would raise rates another two times in 2019.
While there is wide agreement that the United States economy will grow more slowly than the roughly 3 per cent rate of 2018, there's a lot of debate about how fast the slowdown will be.
That prospect has cheered markets, which had grown anxious that the Fed was not taking into account a variety of headwinds that could slow US growth this year. Financial markets are incorporating a variety of risks to the outlook, ranging from slowing global growth to the potential for a protracted trade war with China.