Speed Reads

the coronavirus crisis

Fed Chair Powell to testify economic recovery has 'progressed more quickly' than expected

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell will tell the House Committee on Financial Services on Tuesday that the United States' economic recovery has "progressed more quickly than generally expected and looks to be strengthening" despite the coronavirus pandemic.

The Fed on Monday published Powell's opening testimony ahead of Tuesday's hearing on COVID-19 relief. It's mostly optimistic and consistent with the message Powell has been trotting out over the last year. He will note that "while the economic fallout" of the pandemic "has been real and widespread, the worst was avoided by swift and vigorous action — from Congress and the Federal Reserve, from across government and cities and towns, and from individuals, communities, and the private sector."

Still, he cautions there are reasons for concern, especially in sectors of the economy most heavily affected by the virus and the subsequent need for greater social distancing. He will also reiterate his previous warning that the already-elevated 6.2 percent unemployment rate "underestimates the shortfall, particularly as labor market participation remains notably below pre-pandemic levels." Read the full testimony here.