As mind-bogglingly difficult as it is to be a central banker, the Fed’s job description is actually remarkably simple. It has what’s called a dual mandate: Stable prices and full employment. That’s it.
What that normally means is the Fed is supposed to keep inflation in check (usually defined as the historical rate of about 3%) and the unemployment rate at about 5%.
But these are not normal times. Bernanke said that QE would likely come to an end when the unemployment rate is “in the vicinity” of 7%. It’s at 7.6% now — or in the vicinity of being in the vicinity — so expect markets to be especially volatile when the jobs numbers come out at the beginning of every month.