Washington: Federal Reserve chair Janet Yellen’s policy success is visible in economic statistics. Her personal success could be gauged in the warm sendoff the first woman to lead the institution got from hundreds of staff gathered to wish her farewell.

Raucous applause, rarely heard inside the institution’s studious confines, erupted when she appeared in the atrium of the Fed’s stately Eccles Building in Washington, according to one of the attendees at the private event.

Jerome Powell, who’ll be sworn in as her successor on Monday, said she’d been the most qualified person to hold the position in Fed history, reminding the audience of her long career of public service. He also popped up the collar of his jacket in a tribute to Yellen, a picture released by the Fed showed, after #PopYourCollar was circulated on social media by Fed staff to honour her accomplishments, and tease her over a fondness for wearing her collars turned-up.

During Yellen’s four-year term, unemployment fell to 4.1% in December, down from 6.7% when she took office, as she exploited a period of low inflation to eke out more labour market gains that pulled millions of Americans back into work. Yellen also began the exit from crisis-era stimulus with little effect on financial markets or economic growth.

In her own words, Yellen recalled how she met her husband, Nobel Prize-winning economist George Akerlof, in the Fed cafeteria. Her last working day will be Friday. As a departing gift, she’ll be offered to take home the Federal Reserve flag that flies over the building. Bloomberg

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