Jerome Powell, Chair of the US Federal Reserve on Monday said that the United States' recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic "looks to be strengthening."
He also vowed that the central bank would be continuing its efforts to give aid to racial minorities and groups hurt most during the health crisis, reported AFP.
In a testimony released, Powell said policies rolled out to aid the pandemic hit economy like zero interest rates would be continued by the central bank. The statement was released ahead of his scheduled appearance before the House Financial Services Committee on Tuesday.
Powell recognized that the economic recovery "has progressed more quickly than generally expected," giving credit to the "unprecedented fiscal and monetary policy actions" that kept businesses afloat.
The Fed had cut its benchmark lending rate to zero and rolled out trillions of dollars in liquidity measures in order to keep markets afloat when COVID-19 hit.
"However, the sectors of the economy most adversely affected by the resurgence of the virus, and by greater social distancing, remain weak, and the unemployment rate -- still elevated at 6.2% -- underestimates the shortfall," Powell said.
He added, "We welcome this progress, but will not lose sight of the millions of Americans who are still hurting, including lower-wage workers in the services sector, African Americans, Hispanics, and other minority groups that have been especially hard hit."
These measures along with huge government spending as approved by Congress helped keep the US economy afloat. However, fears about the Fed raising the rates due to an improving economy has hurt Wall Street stocks recently.
In the testimony released post the trading finish, Powell indicated no changes to the Fed's policy of letting inflation rise to a sustained 2% level before increasing rates, reiterating that "We are committed to using our full range of tools to support the economy."
Due to fears that a $1.9 trillion stimulus plan may increase prices, traders sold off bonds, sending yields up. Bond yields however pulled back on Monday, sending hard-hit tech stocks higher at the close.