Powell Says There’s ‘No Place’ at the Federal Reserve for Racism

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell expressed zero tolerance for racism at the U.S. central bank as protests over inequality for black Americans sweep the nation.

“There is no place at the Federal Reserve for racism, and there should be no place for it in our society,” Powell said in his opening remarks of a virtual press conference Wednesday. “Everyone deserves the opportunity to participate fully in our society and our economy.”

Powell spoke after the Fed released its latest decision on interest rates, deciding to hold the federal funds rate near zero. The central bank also released projections for the economy, forecasting that the U.S. unemployment rate would fall to 9.3% in the final three months of the year from 13.3% in May, according to median estimates.

Black and Latino people have seen more job losses than their white peers as the coronavirus pandemic hit sectors — such as restaurants and health care — with high percentages of those workers particularly hard hit.

The black unemployment rate climbed to 16.8% in May even as the white jobless rate fell to 12.4%. The Latino rate dropped to 17.6% from a record high of 18.9% in April. A majority of the black population in the U.S. is now not employed.

Inequality in the U.S. is deep-seated along racial lines. A black family’s net worth, a measure of wealth, was $17,150 in 2016, one-tenth that of a white family, according to Feddata. Coronavirus has been no exception. The virus haskilled black people at a rate more than double that of white people.

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