Fed’s Powell puts focus on spreading benefits of a strong economy


Adam Jeffery | CNBC

Jerome Powell, Chairman of the Federal Reserve, speaking at the New York Economic Club on Nov. 181128.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy looks strong, but the central bank is continuing to find ways to fight poverty.

Speaking Tuesday in Mississippi, Powell said the central bank is looking at a number of ways to help rural communities, with a particular focus on banking and finance for areas of need.

“Today, data at the national level show a strong economy. Unemployment is near a half-century low, and economic output is growing at a solid pace. But we know that prosperity has not been felt as much in some areas, including many rural places,” he said in remarks to the Hope Enterprise Corporation Rural Policy Forum in Itta Bena.

As he has in the recent past, the Fed chair focused on the importance of getting more Americans involved in the working population. His remarks did not touch on monetary policy.

The U.S. labor force participation rate is at 63.2 percent currently, about half a percentage point above where it was at the beginning of 2019, but lags behind most other industrialized countries. The nation ranked 101st in the world in that category, according to 2018 World Bank statistics.

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