The surge in U.S. coronavirus cases and the restrictions aimed at containing it have begun to weigh on the economic recovery, the head of the Federal Reserve said on Wednesday, pointing to an apparent pullback by consumers and a slowdown in the rehiring of furloughed workers, particularly by small businesses, APA reports quoting Reuters.
“We have seen some signs in recent weeks that the increase in virus cases and the renewed measures to control it are starting to weigh on economic activity,” Fed Chair Jerome Powell said in a news conference following release of the U.S. central bank’s latest policy statement.
The United States “has entered a new phase in containing the virus, which is essential to protect both our health and our economy.”
Powell’s comments, made via videoconference, confirmed what many economists and other analysts have maintained in recent weeks as coronavirus infections exploded in a number of southern and southwestern states, dimming hopes for a quick economic rebound.
The Fed’s policy statement on Wednesday directly tied the economic recovery to resolution of a health crisis whose direction remains much in doubt. More than 150,000 Americans have died from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus.