Trumka called Yellen, currently a Federal Reserve vice chairman, a "brilliant economist." Obama aides in the White House leaked news of the pick Tuesday.
Yellen had long been the favorite of liberal activists over President Obama's other top choice -- and presumed favorite -- Larry Summers.
Summers, who was Treasury Secretary under President Bill Clinton, was viewed by many liberals as too close to Wall Street and Big Business. Summers dropped out of consideration for the post in September.
Trumka told reporters in August that he favored Yellen, too. "History would indicate that she is for a much more balanced approach ... than Larry," Trumka said at the time.
In a news release Wednesday, Trumka said:
The AFL-CIO applauds President Obama for nominating Janet Yellen as the next chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System. Professor Yellen is a brilliant economist with a strong record of leadership as Vice Chair of the Federal Reserve. Professor Yellen will also be the first woman to serve as the Chairman of the Federal Reserve. We commend President Obama for breaking the glass ceiling at this critical public institution.
For the last three years, Professor Yellen has served as Vice-Chair of the Federal Reserve. In that role, Professor Yellen has helped Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke lead the Federal Reserve Board’s efforts to get our economy moving again in the midst of the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.
The Federal Reserve System in normal times has a large influence on the direction of our economy through its power to set interest rates. In times of economic crisis and political gridlock, the Federal Reserve’s role is even more important.
The health of our economy and the stability of our financial system in the context of the current political and economic instability requires there be no delay or uncertainty relating to the leadership of the Federal Reserve.
The U.S. Senate confirmed Janet Yellen as Vice-Chair of the Federal Reserve by an uncontroversial voice vote in 2010, and should move immediately to confirm Professor Yellen as Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.