WASHINGTON (AP) — Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell expressed optimism that the U.S. economy can begin to recover from a devastating recession in the second half of the year, assuming the coronavirus doesn’t erupt in a second wave.
But he suggested in an interview with CBS’s “60 Minutes" that a full recovery won’t likely be possible before the arrival of a vaccine.
Powell noted that the economy was fundamentally healthy before the virus struck suddenly and forced widespread business shutdowns and tens of millions of layoffs. He said that once the outbreak has been contained, the economy should be able to rebound “substantially.”
In the interview with CBS, Powell played down comparisons to the Depression. While acknowledging that unemployment could peak near the Depression high of 25%, he noted that U.S. banks are far healthier now and that the Fed and other central banks are much more able and willing to intervene to bolster economies than they were in the 1930s.