Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that the omicron variant poses risks to employment and economic activity.
In his first public speech on the emerging omicron variant of the coronavirus, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that this variant poses risks to the central bank’s mandates to provide stable prices and maximum employment.
“The recent increase in Covid-19 cases and the emergence of the omicron variant created downside risks to employment and economic activity and increased uncertainty about inflation” He added that growing concerns about the virus will reduce people’s willingness to work, which will slow the recovery in the labor market and intensify supply chain disruptions. In his short speech, Powell made no mention of specific monetary policy moves or the possibility of changing the critical issue, the pace at which asset purchases are reduced.
Powell will speak before the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday.
On the other hand, Yellen said that she is following the news regarding the omicron variant but is confident that the recovery will remain strong at this point. Yellen previously noted that the funds held by the Treasury would probably run out after December 15. In her assessment of the debt limit, Yellen said, “I will not exaggerate how critical it is for Congress to address this issue. “If we don’t resolve this, we will hurt our current recovery.”
Powell also added that unemployment continues to fall “disproportionately” among Blacks and Hispanics.