Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell testifies before the Senate Banking Committee hearing on “The Quarterly CARES Act Report to Congress” on Capitol Hill, Washington, Dec. 1, 2020.
Susan Walsh | Swimming pool | Reuters
The US economy is at a turning point thanks to government support and a swift campaign to vaccinate Americans against Covid-19, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said in a new interview.
“What we’re seeing now is really an economy that seems to be at a tipping point,” Powell told Scott Pelley during an interview aired Sunday night on CBS News “60 Minutes.” CBS released part of the interview earlier on Sunday.
“We feel like we are in a place where the economy is about to grow much faster and job creation is coming in much faster,” Powell said. “So the main risk to our economy right now is actually that the disease could spread again. It will be smart if people can continue to distance themselves socially and wear masks.”
Powell’s comments as US stock indices hit record levels, in part thanks to optimism about the reopening of the economy. Investors will keep a close eye next week as the earnings season kicks off and company leaders are publishing forecasts for the coming year.
National vaccination drive has accelerated in recent weeks, with nearly every state making all adults over the age of 16 eligible for injections.
According to data from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 183 million doses of vaccine have been administered in the US. Nearly half of the country’s adult population, and nearly 80% of those over 65, have received at least one dose, data from the CDC shows.
Powell, an appointee of former President Donald Trump, was one of the key figures in the federal government overseeing the country’s response to the financial distress caused by the pandemic.
The Federal Reserve cut its benchmark rate to close to zero in March 2020 and implemented massive emergency credit programs. Powell has said the Fed is unlikely to hike rates until the economy is essentially fully recovered, even if inflation rises moderately above the 2% target.
Powell also championed aggressive federal spending programs run under both Trump and President Joe Biden to stem the worst ramifications of the public health crisis.
The full interview with Powell will air Sunday at 7pm. ET.
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