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Richmond Fed's Barkin: U.S. may be 'on the brink' of complete recovery

EconomyMar 21, 2021 09:50PM ET
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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond President Thomas Barkin poses during a break at a Dallas Fed conference on technology in Dallas

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy may be "on the brink of completing the recovery" from the recession triggered by the coronavirus pandemic, Richmond Federal Reserve President Thomas Barkin said on Sunday, although risks remain for some workers.

"Vaccines are rolling out, and case rates and hospitalizations are falling. Excess savings and fiscal stimulus should help fund pent-up demand from consumers freed by vaccines and warmer weather," Barkin said in remarks prepared for delivery on Sunday evening to a Credit Suisse (SIX:CSGN) conference on investment in Asia.

"With this support, the economy has come most of the way back," he said, with the recently enacted $1.9 trillion coronavirus federal relief program fueling a jump in household incomes and savings that helps offset the still-deep loss of jobs.

"I am hopeful that we are on the brink of completing the recovery," Barkin said.

As the health crisis eases, he said U.S. officials should focus on how to ease the transition back to jobs for working parents and others displaced by the pandemic, bolster education to ensure students do not suffer from lost time in the classroom, and take other steps to prevent "scarring."

"We should pay special attention to programs that allow primary caregivers to return to work. This includes support for child care, elder care and safely reopening schools," he said.

One bright spot, he said, is that so many of the jobs lost during the crisis are in "high turnover occupations, such as housekeepers and waiters. Even before the COVID-19 pandemic, those workers changed jobs regularly," a fact that might lessen the overall damage from long-term joblessness.

Teleworking may also allow faster matching between workers and jobs because those with the right skills will not necessarily have to relocate.

Once the pandemic passes, he said officials should focus on "letting market forces work" so that government policy does not "hinder the creation of the companies of tomorrow when trying to protect the companies of today."

Richmond Fed's Barkin: U.S. may be 'on the brink' of complete recovery
 

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Comments (6)
Todd Gray
Todd Gray Mar 22, 2021 12:19AM ET
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it's always amazed me that liberal youth protested liberal international banking in Seattle. what a crock that all was.
Todd Gray
Todd Gray Mar 22, 2021 12:16AM ET
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an ivy league university recently wrote higher ed. has morally damaged decades of their students with neo-liberal economic theory. basically they removed the cornerstone of a healthy economics (morality), and replaced it with a ******them out of everything you can immorality. isn't that special.
President Xi Jinping
President Xi Jinping Mar 22, 2021 12:07AM ET
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China prefers americans stay home and not allow their industries to open up. Please do not start traveling and most of all dont start spending time with your friends and family as you get your vaccines.
milena villa escobar
milena villa escobar Mar 21, 2021 10:22PM ET
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70% of GDP is consumer spending in the middle class has been all but wiped out
AmericaIsKing oftheGalaxy
AmericaIsKing oftheGalaxy Mar 21, 2021 10:15PM ET
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Service industry sector obviously was the most hard hit. They are coming back. Thank goodness. Support them!  Get out and live. Stop playing keyboard warrior on the internet thinking it makes you some sort of tough princess.
AmericaIsKing oftheGalaxy
AmericaIsKing oftheGalaxy Mar 21, 2021 9:49PM ET
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In 30 days we'll have 200 million (or close) vaccinated. That's 2/3rds the US population. Yes, we are recovered.
AmericaIsKing oftheGalaxy
AmericaIsKing oftheGalaxy Mar 21, 2021 9:49PM ET
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Eudon Hickey You're a bright one aren't you. People can't get sick when vaccines prevent the spread princess. Try again.
Edmond Khodaverdy
Edmond Khodaverdy Mar 21, 2021 9:49PM ET
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Eudon Hickey I don't think this guy knows that these vaccines won't stop the spread either, but oh well!!!
Jason Oppeneer
Jason Oppeneer Mar 21, 2021 9:49PM ET
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Edmond Khodaverdy So then why get vaccinated?
 
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