'A bittersweet moment': Janet Yellen is disappointed she didn't get a 2nd term as Fed chair

Janet Yellen

REUTERS/Joshua Roberts

Federal Reserve Board Chairwoman Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference after the Fed releases its monetary policy decisions in Washington, U.S., June 14, 2017.

  • Outgoing Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen said in an interview that she feels "bittersweet" about leaving her position.
  • While it is tradition to renominate Federal Reserve chairmen for a second term, President Donald Trump nominated Fed board member Jerome Powell instead of Yellen.
  • The economy, job market, and stock market have improved considerably since Yellen took office.
  • Yellen was the first woman to lead the Federal Reserve in US history.

Janet Yellen says she was disappointed that President Donald Trump didn't offer her a second term as Federal Reserve chair.

But she says she supports her successor at the central bank, Jerome Powell, and calls him "a very thoughtful policymaker."Advertisement

It had been the tradition over the past four decades for the president to renominate the Fed leader for a second term, but Trump decided to nominate Fed board member Jerome Powell to the position instead.

Yellen says that she was saddened to leave a position she had devoted so much of her life to.

"It is a bittersweet moment, because I really love this job," she told CBS' "Sunday Morning." "It has been the central focus of my life. You know, I enjoy time with my family outside of work. But the work I do here is the core of my existence, and it's been my identity."

Yellen was the first woman to lead the Fed. She said that part of her mission was to promote women in economic and monetary fields.

"Well, I've tried to do a good job, and I suppose a theme of my life is that I try to be prepared and to get good grades," she said. "Yes, I do want to show that women can perform well in these positions."She also confirmed that she and her husband, Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof, met at the Fed in the 1970s while they were both working there.Advertisement

Yellen told CBS that the stock market - despite the Dow's 666-point drop on Friday - is high, and that the financial system is in better shape to handle a sharp sell-off than it was during the 2008 financial crisis. In addition, inflation has dropped to less than 2%, and the unemployment now sits at 4.1%, down from 6.7% when she took office.

"The labor market has become stronger," Yellen said. "I believe that since I've become Chair, several million jobs have been created, [something] on the order of ten million."

Her four-year term ended Friday, and Powell takes over on Monday.Advertisement