Fed Chairman Jerome Powell warns that economic downturn could last until late 2021

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell speaks to reporters after the Federal Reserve cut interest rates in an emergency move designed to shield the world's largest economy from the impact of the coronavirus, during a news conference in Washington, U.S., March 3, 2020. REUTERS/Kevin LamarqueReuters

  • US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that economic downturn from the novel coronavirus pandemic may last until late 2021.
  • In an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday night, Powell said that Americans need to prepare for a new economic reality that will “take a while for us to get back.”
  • 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment in six weeks, though the actual number of jobless Americans may be higher.
  • Powell said that he supports government policies that “help businesses avoid avoidable insolvencies and that do the same for individuals,” adding that he believed trillions of dollars in additional federal debt could be paid over decades. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

US Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said a US recovery from the coronavirus would likely be slow and an economic downturn from the virus may last until late next year. 

In an interview with CBS News’ “60 Minutes” that aired on Sunday night, Powell said that Americans need to prepare for a new economic reality that will “take a while for us to get back.”

“This is a time of great suffering and difficulty,” he said. “And it’s come on us so quickly and with such force, that you really can’t put into words the pain people are feeling and the uncertainty they’re realizing. And it’s going to take a while for us to get back.” 

Over 30 million Americans have filed for unemployment in six weeks, though the actual number of jobless Americans may be higher. Economists agree that the US is already in a recession due to coronavirus layoffs and industry shutdowns, which is spurring many US states to begin lifting coronavirus restrictions

Powell remained optimistic that the economy would eventually rebound, assuming the coronavirus doesn’t erupt into a second wave.

“This economy will recover,” he said. “It may take a while.” 

“It could stretch through the end of next year,” he added, stressing that the US economy may not fully recover until the arrival of a COVID-19 vaccine. 

“I think you’ll see the economy recover steadily through the second half of this year,” he said. “For the economy to fully recover people will have to be fully confident and that may have to await the arrival of a vaccine.” 

The US has seen the largest number of coronavirus cases of any country in the world. As of Sunday evening, it has reported over 1.4 million cases and more than 89,000 deaths. 

Powell said that he supports government policies that “help businesses avoid avoidable insolvencies and that do the same for individuals.” 

“Keep workers in their homes, keep them paying their bills. Keep families solvent,” he said, adding that he believed trillions of dollars in additional federal debt could be paid over decades. 

“The US has been spending more than it’s been taking in for some time,” he said. “When unemployment is low, when economic activity is high, that’s when you deal with that problem. This is not the time to prioritize that concern.” 

“We have the ability to borrow at low rates,” he added. “We have the ability to service that debt. And I would say this is the time when we can use that strength to our longer-run benefit.” 

https://markets.businessinsider.com/news/stocks/fed-chairman-powell-economic-downturn-could-last-until-late-2021-2020-5-1029209619

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