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U.S. economy at an 'inflection point' -Fed’s Powell

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[POWELL] “What we're seeing now is really an economy that seems to be at an inflection point.”

Those are the words of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in an interview with 60 Minutes on Sunday…

Powell said he expects growth and hiring will pick up speed in the months ahead, but warns that COVID-19 remains a risk.

[POWELL] “We feel like we're at a place where the economy's about to start growing much more quickly and job creation coming in much more quickly. The principal risk to our economy right now really is that the disease would spread again. It's going to be smart if people can continue to socially distance and wear masks.”

Recent data on the economy has been mostly positive, with a better-than-expected 916,000 jobs created in March and some Federal Reserve officials suggesting a run of a million new jobs a month is possible later this year.

Meanwhile, pockets of the United States - like the state of Michigan - are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases.

Overall though, infection rates in large parts of the country are at multi-month lows, as the vaccine rollout continues and doses given out hit one-day records - allowing wide swaths of the economy to more fully reopen.

Still, even with March's big increase in employment, the labor market remains 8.4 million jobs short of where it was in February 2020, just before the pandemic triggered a historic downturn.

U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed Powell’s sentiments on on CBS' "Face the Nation" Sunday warning that economic growth will only happen if the virus is taken care of:

[PELOSI] “If we're going to grow the economy with confidence, we've got to crush the virus."

Video Transcript

JEROME POWELL: What we're seeing now is really an economy that seems to be at an inflection point.

- Those are the words of Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell in an interview with "60 Minutes" on Sunday. Powell said he expects growth and hiring will pick up speed in the months ahead but warns that COVID-19 remains a risk.

JEROME POWELL: We feel like we're at a place where the economy is about to start growing much more quickly and job creation coming in much more quickly. So the principal risk to our economy right now really is that the disease would spread again. You know, it's going to be smart if people can continue to socially distance and wear masks.

- Recent data on the economy has been mostly positive, with a better-than-expected 916,000 jobs created in March and some Federal Reserve officials suggesting a run of a million new jobs a month is possible later this year. Meanwhile, pockets of the United States, like the state of Michigan, are experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. Overall, though, infection rates in large parts of the country are at multi-month lows, as the vaccine rollout continues and doses given out hit one-day records, allowing wide swaths of the economy to more fully reopen.

Still, even with March's big increase in employment, the labor market remains 8.4 million jobs short of where it was in February 2012, just before the pandemic triggered a historic downturn. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi echoed Powell sentiments on CBS's "Face the Nation" Sunday, warning that economic growth will only happen if the virus is taken care of.

NANCY PELOSI: So if we're going to grow the economy with confidence, we've got to crush the virus.