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'Families Are Struggling': As Labor Market Cools, Key US Financial Figures Address Economy

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As the November elections loom closer, the U.S. economy is a primary concern for many Americans. This week, two key figures in the nation's financial landscape, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell and Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen, shared their perspectives on the country's economic situation.
Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell delivered his semi-annual economic report to the Senate Banking Committee, where he emphasized signs that the economy is doing well, despite the latest concerns about jobs. "Recent indicators suggest the economy continues to expand at a solid pace," Powell said.
Powell highlighted that the measures taken by the Federal Reserve have made "considerable progress" in addressing the worst inflation spike in 40 years. "Inflation has eased notably in the past two years, though it remains above the goal of 2%," he noted. 

But Powell acknowledged that high inflation and a cooling labor market remain key concerns nationwide. The government recently reported that hiring remained solid in June, although the unemployment rate rose for the third consecutive month to 4.1%.
Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) expressed concern over the impact of inflation on American families. "Everyday families are struggling to put food on the table, real wage growth is being eaten away by rising prices and runaway inflation," Scott remarked.
Between March 2022 and July 2023, the Federal Reserve raised interest rates 11 times, all the way up to 5.3%, to combat inflation. While Powell hinted that the central bank is nearing a long-awaited interest rate cut, he did not provide a timeline, reiterating the need for patience. 

"We continue to make those decisions meeting by meeting," Powell said, responding to concerns from Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) about the pace of interest rate reductions.
Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen also addressed economic issues, presenting the International Financial Systems' annual report. She expressed optimism about reaching the Federal Reserve's 2% inflation target by 2025. Yellen also faced questions from Republican lawmakers regarding President Biden's mental health, to which she responded that the president remains effective in meetings, including those with foreign leaders.
"The president is extremely effective in the meetings that I've been in with him. That includes many international meetings that are multi-hour, like his meetings with President Xi," Yellen affirmed.
Yellen also testified that she is unaware of any cabinet discussions regarding the 25th Amendment, which would allow the vice president and cabinet members to declare the president unable to discharge the powers and duties of the office and transfer the role to the vice president.

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About The Author


Tara Mergener is an award-winning journalist and expert storyteller who spent the majority of her career as a correspondent in Washington, D.C. She worked at CBS Newspath for many years, reporting for all CBS platforms, including CBS News and CBS affiliates throughout the nation. Tara also reported at CNN, Hearst’s Washington, D.C. Bureau, and was a contributor on Full Court Press with Greta Van Susteren. Tara has won dozens of awards for her investigative and political reporting, including Headliner Foundation’s Best Reporter in Texas, multiple Edward R. Murrow awards, Texas Associated Press