WASHINGTON — If you find the current economy a bit confusing, don’t worry: So does the nation’s top economic official, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell.
At a highly anticipated news conference Wednesday, Powell said the Fed was sticking by its bedrock economic forecast: COVID-19 will eventually fade, which, in turn, will enable supply chain bottlenecks to unsnarl. More people will return to the workforce, the economy will strengthen and inflation pressures will ease.
And yet the nation’s leading economic figure acknowledged that it isn’t at all clear when or even whether things will play out the way he and other Fed officials hope. And so far, they haven’t. The Fed won’t likely gain a clear view of inflation and the job market, Powell suggested, until COVID-19 and its economic consequences — reduced travel, diminished spending, supply and labor shortages — further ease.
“We hope to achieve significantly greater clarity…