He indicated that lawmakers should consider how to help service workers who have been displaced and will struggle to return to work.
“That’s something I’d be looking at, is — what kind of support will they need?” he said.
“I do think you’ll want to continue support for workers in some form. I think that there are going to be an awful lot of unemployed people for some time,” Mr. Powell said. “Even if we start putting people back to work really fast, which may happen here, there are still going to be plenty of people who don’t have jobs and that may not have them for a while because there are no jobs in travel, accommodation, various places.”
More than 100 economists, including two former Fed chairs and three former White House economists, called on Congress to pass another coronavirus relief package before the end of the summer, warning that more needed to be done in order to support economic recovery during the pandemic.
The next legislation, the economists wrote on Tuesday, “should provide, at a minimum, continued support for the unemployed, new assistance to states and localities, investments in programs that preserve the employer-employee relationship, and additional aid to stabilize aggregate demand.”
A smaller group of prominent economists from both sides of the aisle, joined by a former Treasury secretary, Timothy F. Geithner, also detailed a proposal on Tuesday on what Congress should fund to stabilize the economy.
Their report includes a call to renew the expanded unemployment benefits, but phase them down over time, and to create a temporary new pandemic earned-income tax credit to supplement the salaries of Americans who return to work. It would continue government support for hard-hit businesses and send at least $500 billion to states and local governments to help avert cuts to public education and other services, while restricting states from using the money to address pre-existing pension shortfalls or finance new tax cuts.
Lawmakers, however, have shown varying degrees of enthusiasm for further action.
While House Democrats approved a $3 trillion stimulus law in May to further address the economic toll, Senate Republicans remain divided over what another coronavirus relief package should look like, with some voicing skepticism about whether another sweeping round of federal aid is needed as the economy slowly starts to reopen.