The US Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said on Thursday that the American economy is going through an uneven recovery and he hopes to see stronger employment figures.
"There is a brighter outlook for the US economy from fiscal support, vaccines, but unevenness in recovery is a serious issue," Powell said during a virtual IMF seminar.
"We want to see a string of months like the March jobs report to see progress," he said, citing uneven data between the strong recovery in employment last month but high jobless claims that were released earlier Thursday.
Although the economy added 916,000 jobs in March, the number of individuals filing first-time unemployment was higher than 700,000 for a second consecutive week, after they posted their lowest level during the coronavirus pandemic with 684,000 for the week ending March 20.
President Joe Biden's $1.9 trillion COVID-19 fiscal stimulus, which provides $1,400 checks for most individuals, has been providing support for economic recovery.
Although Powell said the world's largest economy should be able to reopen "fairly soon" with the current pace of vaccinations, he warned that rising cases may hamper efforts.
"There's a risk in the US, cases are moving back up here. Any pickup in cases will slow the recovery," he said.
More than 225 million doses have been distributed in the US, while 171 million have been administered as of early Wednesday. So far, 64.4 million people, or 19.4% of the population, have received two doses, according to figures from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Almost 31 million cases have been recorded in the US since the start of the pandemic with more than 559,000 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.
Global cases are more than 133 million, while almost 2.9 million have lost their lives.