April 9, 2020 / By David Gura
Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell expressed caution about reopening the economy too soon, saying “we all want to avoid a false start” in a speech Thursday morning just hours after the central bank announced a new multitrillion-dollar round of emergency measures.
“This is going to be, and is, a very difficult time for many, many people,” he said in remarks delivered online, under the auspices of the Brookings Institution.
On Thursday, the Department of Labor announced another surge in first-time filings for unemployment benefits. Over the last three weeks, more than 16 million Americans have applied for help.
The Fed’s new, $2.3 trillion relief package includes an emergency lending program and plans to buy more assets, such as municipal bonds.
“We are looking for places that are very important to the real economy,” Powell said. “Places that really affect people’s lives.”
After an emergency meeting in early March, when the Fed decided to lower rates to near-zero and expand its bond-buying program, there was concern among investors the Fed had few tools remaining in its toolbox. In recent weeks, Fed policymakers have proven them wrong.