Fed warns of prolonged U.S. recession after coronavirus
Thursday, 05 14 2020, Category: Economy, Country: United States
Jerome Powell, chairman of the Federal Reserve board of governors, warned Wednesday that the long-term health of the U.S. economy may depend on more fiscal stimulus to fight the economic impacts of the coronavirus.
Here’s Powell’s prepared remarks to the Peterson Institute for International Economics, in full:
The coronavirus has left a devastating human and economic toll in its wake as it has spread around the globe. This is a worldwide public health crisis, and health-care workers have been the first responders, showing courage and determination and earning our lasting gratitude. So have the legions of other essential workers who put themselves at risk every day on our behalf.
As a nation, we have temporarily withdrawn from many kinds of economic and social activity to help slow the spread of the virus. Some sectors of the economy have been effectively closed since mid-March. People have put their lives and livelihoods on hold, making enormous sacrifices to protect not just their own health and that of their loved ones, but also their neighbors and the broader community. While we are all affected, the burden has fallen most heavily on those least able to bear it.
The scope and speed of this downturn are without modern precedent, significantly worse than any recession since World War II. We are seeing a severe decline in economic activity and in employment, and already the job gains of the past decade have been erased. Since the pandemic arrived in force just two months ago, more than 20 million people have lost their jobs. A Fed survey being released tomorrow reflects findings similar to many others: Among people who were working in February, almost 40 percent of those in households making less than $40,000 a year had lost a job in March. This reversal of economic fortune has caused a level of pain that is hard to capture in words, as lives are upended amid great uncertainty about the future.