Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism.
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); } //

Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell attends a Senate Banking Committee hearing on Capitol Hill on Dec. 1, 2020.

AL DRAGO/The New York Times News Service

Invoking post-World War II efforts to reach full employment and pledging continued loose monetary policy to help the process, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell made a broad call Wednesday for a “society-wide commitment” to get Americans back to work, particularly minorities and those ousted from lower-paying jobs during the pandemic.

“Given the number of people who have lost their jobs and the likelihood that some will struggle to find work in the post-pandemic economy, achieving and sustaining maximum employment will require more than supportive monetary policy,” Powell said in remarks to the Economic Club of New York. “It will require a society-wide commitment, with contributions from across government and the private sector.”

“Fully realizing the benefits of a strong labour market will take continued support from both near-term policy and longer-run investments so that all those seeking jobs have the skills and opportunities that will enable them to contribute to, and share in, the benefits of prosperity,” Powell said.

Story continues below advertisement

While the Fed has already promised that borrowing costs for companies and households will be kept low as the economy recovers, Powell’s remarks spoke to the need for a more comprehensive approach to end the jobs crisis that followed the onset of the coronavirus last spring. In scope and approach, including a call for long-term investment, the remarks aligned closely with the sort of proposals being discussed by President Joe Biden and his Treasury Secretary and former Fed chair Janet Yellen.

The United States remains about 9 million jobs short of where it was a year ago, and the recovery has been most sluggish for members of minority groups and those thrown out of lower- paying jobs because of the pandemic.

“The Fed is almost demanding that Congress and the private sector step up and help the sluggish employment backdrop we’re seeing,” said Ryan Detrick, senior market strategist at LPL Financial in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Financial markets were little changed after Powell’s comments.

Biden is urging Congress to pass a $1.9 trillion emergency spending bill, and is planning a longer-term infrastructure effort that some analysts expect will also involve trillions of dollars in additional federal spending.

Though the Fed has no direct say over how the federal government spends money or how much it raises, central bank policy does influence the interest rate the government pays and thus the cost particularly of longer-term investments.

During the pandemic, Fed policy-makers have generally set concerns about the level of federal debt to the side and focused more on the economy’s immediate needs.

Story continues below advertisement

Powell on Wednesday cemented that stance, noting that after World War II, as the economy transitioned from wartime and needed to absorb millions of returning soldiers into the labour force, the Employment Act of 1946 committed the government “to use all practicable means” to see that anyone willing and able to work can find “useful employment.”

“At present, we are a long way from such a labour market,” he said.

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies