Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told lawmakers on Tuesday that the economic rebound had a long way to go and vowed that the Fed would continue to use its tools – which include keeping interest rates close to zero since March and a massive bond buying program – to make sure the recovery is “as robust as it gets”.
During his testimony before the Senate Banking Committee, Powell said that both employment and inflation were below the Fed’s targets.
The Fed chairman said earlier this month that the unemployment rate in January was close to 10% – significantly higher than the 6.3% rate reported by the Labor Department – due to workers who have abandoned the workforce and are not taken into account. the official count.
Powell pointed out that inflation also remains well below the Fed’s long-term 2% target and said prices remain “particularly low” in sectors hardest hit by the pandemic.
He also stressed that the nature of the economic recovery depended “significantly” on the course of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and added that the “best” policy to bring the economy back to normal would be to encourage people to get vaccinated.
“The economic recovery remains patchy and far from complete, and the way forward is very uncertain,” Powell said in his prepared remarks Tuesday. “It will probably take some time for substantial progress to be made,” he added.
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