NY Fed’s John Williams on the state of the recovery
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The Federal Reserve Bank of New York is the Fed’s largest regional bank by assets. Its district includes all of New York State, Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and parts of New Jersey and Connecticut.
“Marketplace” host Kai Ryssdal spoke with John Williams, the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, as part of the Society for Advancing Business Editing and Writing’s virtual conference Wednesday. Unlike other regional bank presidents, Williams also has a vote on the Federal Open Market Committee because of his position.
“Fiscal support has been really critically important in 2020,” Williams said, referring to additional unemployment benefits and PPP loans for small businesses. “When that money runs out and some of these programs expire, I think that cuts off some of the support that small businesses and households were getting. That’s going to slow the economy because people won’t have as much money to spend.”
Because the current economic crisis continues to be driven by the COVID-19 pandemic, Williams said he isn’t thinking about it like other recessions. He noted the present challenges as cases continue to rise across the country, but said he’s become more positive in the long run, over the next three years or so.
“We’ve seen our economy rebound more strongly than I expected,” Williams said. “Also, the news on some of the medical breakthroughs is helpful.” Williams expects it will still take a few years until a full recovery.
Research from the New York Fed and other branches has highlighted the way the pandemic has had a disproportionate impact on communities of color, including findings that small Black-owned businesses are twice as likely to have shut down than small businesses overall.
When he looks at data on unemployment or policy impacts, Williams said he pays close attention to how different racial groups are affected. “It’s about the deep understanding that it’s not one economy, it’s not thousands of economies, it’s like tens of thousands of economies.”
COVID-19 Economy FAQs
Can businesses deny you entry if you don’t have a vaccine passport?
As more Americans get vaccinated against COVID-19 and the economy begins reopening, some businesses are requiring proof of vaccination to enter their premises. The concept of a vaccine passport has raised ethical questions about data privacy and potential discrimination against the unvaccinated. However, legal experts say businesses have the right to deny entrance to those who can’t show proof.
Give me a snapshot of the labor market in the U.S.
U.S. job openings in February increased more than expected, according to the Labor Department. Also, the economy added over 900,000 jobs in March. For all of the good jobs news recently, there are still nearly 10 million people who are out of work, and more than 4 million of them have been unemployed for six months or longer. “So we still have a very long way to go until we get a full recovery,” said Elise Gould with the Economic Policy Institute. She said the industries that have the furthest to go are the ones you’d expect: “leisure and hospitality, accommodations, food services, restaurants” and the public sector, especially in education.
What do I need to know about tax season this year?
Glad you asked! We have a whole separate FAQ section on that. Some quick hits: The deadline has been extended from April 15 to May 17 for individuals. Also, millions of people received unemployment benefits in 2020 — up to $10,200 of which will now be tax-free for those with an adjusted gross income of less than $150,000. And, for those who filed before the American Rescue Plan passed, simply put, you do not need to file an amended return at the moment. Find answers to the rest of your questions here.
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