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Fed’s Powell puts focus on spreading benefits of a strong economy

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Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said the U.S. economy looks strong, but the central bank is continuing to find ways to fight poverty.

With an unemployment rate of 3.9 percent, Powell said the U.S. is generally considered near “maximum employment.” But he said that’s not the case everywhere.

“There are pockets of regions and demographics all over the country who are not at maximum employment,” Powll said. “So the obvious way to grow the size of the economy is to bring people into the economy are on the edge of it.”

Powell pledged that the Fed is committed to programs like the Community Reinvestment Act that are aimed at getting development funds to areas in need. He also cited the importance of equal education opportunities and workforce training.

From the Fed’s more immediate perspective, he said it is looking at tailoring regulations to make sure local banks aren’t constrained in providing finance to those who need it, both personally and on an entrepreneurial level.

“Regulation and supervision need to be carefully tailored to suit the size and business model of different types of institutions. At the Fed, we have renewed our efforts to avoid unnecessary regulatory burden on community banks, which provide essential credit in their local communities,” he said.

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