Federal Reserve Chair: Economic growth ahead, COVID a risk

U.S. Fed Chair Jerome Powell predicts strong economic growth ahead but not every sector of the economy is recovering at the same pace.

Tags: Economy
Dan Verbin ,

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U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in an interview with CBS program “60 Minutes” that while he predicts healthy economic growth and job hiring ahead, COVID-19 is still problematic.

Powell said that he likely will not raise the Fed’s benchmark interest rate this year. The rate is currently near zero. He also said that he doesn’t see inflation becoming a problem even with significant increases in government expenditures and increasing budget deficits.

He stated that with a million jobs added in March, and the unemployment rate falling from 6.2 percent to 6 percent, it is within the “range of possibility” that several strong months will follow.

The U.S. still has 8.4 million less jobs than pre-pandemic. Powell admitted that he regularly passes a homeless tent encampment near his office in Washington D.C.

“There’s a lot of suffering out there still, and I think it’s important that... as a country we stay and help those people,” he said. “The economy that we’re going back to is going to be different from the one that we had.”

Powell also agreed with 60 Minutes hots Scott Pelley that for every “help wanted” sign there is a business that has closed, calling the expanding economy a “very unusual recovery.”

“What you're seeing is some parts of the economy are doing very well, have fully recovered, have even more than fully recovered in some cases. And some parts haven't recovered very much at all yet. And those tend to be the ones that involve direct contact with the public. Travel, entertainment, restaurants, things like that,” he said.