Jerome Powell has a hopeful tone but points to the uneven costs of the pandemic.
Jerome H. Powell, the chairman of the Federal Reserve, took a tone of hope about the U.S. economy in a speech on Monday – but he pointed out that the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic has disproportionately harmed vulnerable communities .
“While some countries are still suffering terribly under the stranglehold of Covid-19, the economic outlook here in the United States has clearly improved,” Mr. Powell said. And in the United States, “lives and livelihoods have been affected in ways that vary from person to person, family to family, and community to community” .
Mr Powell used the remarks to preview an upcoming Fed report that will show how black and Hispanic workers have lost jobs at a higher rate in pandemic lockdowns and how the pandemic has pushed mothers out of the workforce and made it more difficult for people without a college degree. hang on to work.
Among the statistics he highlighted Survey of Household Economics and Decision Making, which he says will be released later this month:
About 20 percent of adults in their prime working years without a bachelor’s degree were made redundant last year, compared to 12 percent of working college graduates.
More than 20% of black and Hispanic workers in their prime were laid off in 2020, compared to 14% of white workers.
About 22% of parents were either not working or working less because of childcare and school breaks.
About 36 percent of black mothers and 30 percent of Hispanic mothers were either not working or working less.
“The Fed is focusing on these long-standing disparities because they weigh on the productive capacity of our economy,” said Powell. “We will only reach our full potential when everyone can contribute and share in the benefits of prosperity.”
Mr. Powell said that while achieving a fair economy is the job of many parts of government, the Fed has a role to play both with its economic tools and in its banking supervision and community development work.
“Those who have always been left behind have the best chance of prospering in a strong economy with many job opportunities,” said Powell. “We consider our strong monitoring approach to be essential in addressing racial discrimination, which can limit the ability of consumers to improve their economic situation.”