CBS’s Scott Pelley did a feature on Federal Reserve chairman Jarome Powell for 60 Minutes on Sunday. The head of the US central banking system spoke about the economy, how high he thinks unemployment may go, and what outcomes he’s trying to avoid during the coronavirus pandemic.
During the chat, Pelly revealed that Powell is an “enormous fan” of the Washington Capitals and showed footage of the Fed Chair and his wife Elissa Leonard taking their seats for a home game against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Powell rocks a red Alex Ovechkin jersey.
“When do you think you’ll be comfortable going back to a (Capitals) game?” Pelley asked.
“Certainly no sooner than next season,” Powell said. “Generally, public sporting events, public concerts, and things like that, those will be among the last things that can be resumed (with fans).”
Powell’s comments about when he’d feel safe about going to see the Caps play again comes as the NHL appears to be nearing agreement on a possible return-to-play plan where the top 24 teams would compete in a playoff in hub cities without fans. In an interview with CNN, Capitals owner Ted Leonsis stated his belief that both the NHL and NBA would complete their seasons and award championships.
Earlier in the 60 Minutes interview, Powell stressed how important and how uncertain vaccine development is for a full economic recovery. Major industries will suffer as millions of doses for a potential COVID-19 vaccine are more than a year away… at least.
“The parts involving people being in the same place very close together, those parts the economy will be challenged until people feel really safe again,” Powell said, highlighting sports and theatres. “I would think those would be really difficult.
“Lots of the rest of the economy though can move ahead but we can’t fully recover because those other parts of the economy matter,” Powell said. “We can’t fully recover until people feel confident they’re safe.”
Powell predicts the economic downturn might last until late 2021 and the economy could contract 20-30 percent during the pandemic.
“It’s very plausible that the economy will take some time to gather momentum,” Powell said.
The United States approved nearly $3 trillion in stimulus and the Fed has pumped trillions of dollars into the financial system. Powell encouraged Congress to keep small businesses and families solvent during this time.
“The real risk that if people are out of work for long periods of time that their skills atrophy a little bit and they lose contact with the workforce,” Powell said. “Longer and deeper recessions leave damage to peoples’ careers.”
Screenshot courtesy of 60 Minutes/CBS
S/T to Chris Gordon for the heads up.
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