By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hundreds of people heard a generally upbeat account of today’s economy from the head of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

Today at the Union League, regional Fed president and CEO Charles Plosser told LaSalle University’s 13th annual Economic Outlook Forum that he is encouraged by a variety of metrics, from consumer spending to job growth.

Plosser says he expects the Fed to continue to reduce its asset purchases, called “quantitative easing,” as the year rolls out.

And he admitted that December’s jobs number was a disappointment, but he says the long-term trend is positive, and that those who claim too many people are sitting out the recovery have it wrong: it’s the aging baby-boomers.

“Much of the decline in the participation rate since the start of the recovery can be accounted for by retirements and movements into disability,” he told the luncheon.  “Those individuals are very, very unlikely to move back into the labor force once they’ve retired.”

And Plosser says this trend goes back more than a decade.

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