Powell made the comments during an interview on CBS News’ “60 Minutes.” In the interview, Powell provided a rosier economic outlook, in contrast to past remarks on the economy’s recovery.
“What we’re seeing now is really an economy that seems to be much at an inflection point,” Powell told “60 minutes” during the interview. “And that’s because of widespread vaccination and strong fiscal support, strong monetary policy support. We feel like we’re at a place where the economy’s about to start growing much more quickly and job creation coming in much more quickly. The outlook has brightened substantially.”
But that’s only if there isn’t another wave of Covid-19.
“The principal risk to our economy right now really is that the disease would spread again. It’s going to be smart if people can continue to socially distance and wear masks,” he told “60 Minutes.”
“We did not know how the economy would perform. We did not know the path of the disease,” Powell said in the “60 Minutes” interview. “We had no idea when and how long it would take to do a vaccine.”
When probed if he expected the current economic downturn to mirror anything like the 2008 financial crisis, Powell said that the chances are “very low.” Instead, Powell mentioned “cyber risk” being the main concern, citing examples of large firms losing the ability to track payments its disbursing.
“We spend so much time and energy and money guarding against these things. There are cyber-attacks every day on all major institutions now,” he told “60 Minutes.” “That’s a big part of the threat picture in today’s world.”
“That means that we can afford to wait to see actual inflation appear before we raise interest rates,” he said. Powell added that the Fed wants inflation to move up above 2% “on a sustainable basis” before it decides to raise interest rates.
“We do have the ability to wait to see real inflation, and that’s what we plan on doing,” Powell said in the interview.