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The Federal Reserve is considering when and how much to cut interest rates, and the employment report on Friday will give policymakers an up-to-date hint at how the economy is evolving ahead of their next policy meeting.

Fed officials meet on March 19-20, and they are widely expected to leave interest rates unchanged at that gathering. But investors think that they could begin to lower interest rates as early as June, a view that Jerome H. Powell, the Fed chair, did little to either strongly confirm or upend during his congressional testimony this week.

“We’re waiting to become more confident that inflation is moving sustainably to 2 percent,” Mr. Powell told lawmakers on Thursday. “When we do get that confidence, and we’re not far from it, it will be appropriate to dial back the level of restriction.”

The Fed is primarily watching progress on inflation as it contemplates its next steps, but it is also keeping an eye on the labor market. If job growth is strong and the labor market is so robust that wages rise quickly, that could keep price increases higher for longer as companies try to cover their costs. On the other hand, if the job market begins to slow sharply, that could nudge Fed officials toward earlier interest rate cuts.

For now, unemployment has remained low and wage growth has been solid — but not as strong as the peaks it reached in 2022. That has given Fed officials comfort that the supply of workers and the demand for new employees is coming back into balance, even without a painful economic slowdown.

“Although the jobs-to-workers gap has narrowed, labor demand still exceeds the supply of available workers,” Mr. Powell said this week.

If the recent progress in restoring balance continues, it could allow the Fed to pull off what is often called a “soft landing”: a situation in which the economy cools and inflation moderates so the Fed can back away from aggressive interest rate policy without a recession.

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