Powell's summation of the "marked improvement" in the economic landscape largely repeated what he said last week after the Fed's latest policy meeting, at which policymakers promised to keep interest rates pinned at zero until the economy reaches full employment and inflation is on track to modestly overshoot the central bank's 2% target.
The housing sector has rebounded, consumer spending has recovered about 75% of its decline, and about half of the 22 million jobs lost in the crisis have returned, he said. "Both employment and overall economic activity, however, remain well below their pre-pandemic levels, and the path ahead continues to be highly uncertain," he said.
Powell's speech included an update on the Fed's Main Street Lending program, which now has funded or has in the pipeline 230 loans totaling roughly $2 billion. "Demand for Main Street loans may increase over time if the pandemic continues to affect the ability of businesses and nonprofits to access credit through normal channels and as other support programs expire," he said.
(Reporting by Dan Burns in New York and Ann Saphir in Berkeley, Calif.; Editing by Leslie Adler and Matthew Lewis)
(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)
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