Powell: 'We're not going back to the same economy'

Speaking at a roundtable event hosted by the International Monentary Fund, Fed Chair Jerome Powell said ,"We're not going back to the same economy." He also called the U.S. econonic recovery "uneven and incomplete." (April 8)

Video Transcript

JEROME POWELL: Remember, we're not going back to the same economy. This will be a different economy. And one of the things we hear from companies is that they've spent a lot of time since the pandemic arrived looking at ways to have more effective technology and perhaps fewer people. So you're going to see some of that in these public-facing jobs. So there will be millions of people who have a hard time finding their way back into the workforce and recovering the lives that they had just a year ago. And you know, I think it would be appropriate for us to continue to support those people.

The recovery, though, here remains uneven and incomplete. The burden is still falling on lower-income workers. The unemployment rate in the bottom quartile is still 20%. There are still 8 and 1/2 million people out of work. And this unevenness that we're talking about is a very serious issue.

Viruses are no respecters of borders, and until the world, really, is vaccinated, we're all going to be at risk of new mutations. And we won't be able to really resume activity with confidence.

When people are out of work for a long period of time, the record shows empirically that their whole economic lives and, frankly, their broader lives as human beings can be damaged, even permanently. So we want to avoid that. And I would say we have avoided a great deal of it. The really bad outcomes that we were concerned about a year ago have not materialized. Nonetheless, nine or 10 million people out of work, and we need to keep supporting them and supporting the economy, and we will.