By Rob Garver
VOA News
March 27, 2020

Federal Reserve Board Chairman Jerome Powell says that the hundreds of thousands of business owners who have shut their doors as a part of the nationwide effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus are doing a public service, and that the central bank and other government agencies will do their best to help them recover from the economic damage that results.

In an interview Thursday on NBC's Today Show, Powell said that the economy "may well" be in a recession already, but stressed that the underlying circumstances are vastly different from previous economic slowdowns. The interview took place on a day when it was reported that 3.3 million Americans had filed for unemployment compensation in the previous week — nearly five times the previous high set in 1982.

"This is a unique situation — it's not like a typical downturn," he said. "We've asked people to step back from economic activity really to make an investment in our public health. They're doing that for the public good."

As part of a government-wide effort, he said, the Fed is taking extraordinary steps to make sure that credit is available to businesses and individuals that need it in order to get through the shutdown without facing financial ruin…….

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