Last night, 60 Minutes broadcast an interview with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell in which Powell discussed current economic conditions and prospects for recovery. (Powell sat for the interview on Wednesday, 5.13.20 with Scott Pelley of CBS News.) The interview is available online, as is a transcript.
Below are excerpts from the transcript (although Powell’s remarks are well worth reading or viewing in full):
Scott Pelley: What economic reality do the American people need to be prepared for?
Jerome Powell: Well, I would take a more optimistic cut at that, if I could, and that is, this is a time of great suffering and difficulty. 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. But I would just say this. In the– in the long run, and even in the medium run, you wouldn’t want to bet against the American economy. This economy will recover. It may take a while.
It may take a period of time. It could stretch through the end of next year. We really don’t know.
Scott Pelley: Can there be a recovery without a reasonably effective vaccine?
Jerome Powell: Assuming there’s not a second wave of the coronavirus, I think you’ll see the economy recover steadily through the second half of this year. So, for the economy to fully recover people will have to be fully confident and that may have to await the arrival of a vaccine.
Scott Pelley: In terms of the workforce, Mr. Chairman, who is getting hurt the worst by this downturn?
Jerome Powell: The people who’re getting hurt the worst are the most recently hired, the lowest paid people. It’s women to an extraordinary extent. Of the people who were working in February, who were making less than $40,000 per year, almost 40% have lost their jobs in the last month or so.