WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - Many US economic indicators have improved markedly since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus pandemic in March, but more work is needed to lift the economy and the Federal Reserve is determined to do whatever it takes to support the recovery, Chairman Jay Powell said in a speech prepared for delivery to Congress.
"Economic activity has picked up from its depressed second-quarter level, when much of the economy was shut down to stem the spread of the virus. Many economic indicators show marked improvement," Powell said in his remarks to be delivered at the three-day House hearing for the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act beginning Tuesday.
Powell said household spending appears to have recovered about three-fourths of its earlier decline, likely owing in part to federal stimulus payments and expanded unemployment benefits, while the housing sector has rebounded.
Fixed investment for business has also shown signs of improvement and the labor market regained roughly half of the 22 million payroll jobs lost in March and April, Powell said.
However, employment and overall economic activity remain well below their pre-pandemic levels and the path ahead continued to be highly uncertain, Powell said.
"The downturn has not fallen equally on all Americans; those least able to bear the burden have been the most affected," he said. "This reversal of economic fortune has upended many lives and created great uncertainty about the future."
The Federal Reserve remains committed to using its tools to do what it can for as long as it takes to ensure that the recovery will be as strong as possible as well as to limit lasting damage to the economy, Powell said.