The U.S. economy can’t reach its potential unless the country addresses gaps in economic opportunity, said Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland president Loretta Mester.
“Unfortunately, today, the U.S. economy does not offer the same opportunities to all,” Mester said in the text of a speech she was scheduled to deliver Monday, Sept. 28, at an online event hosted by the African American Chamber of Commerce of Western Pennsylvania.
The adverse impacts of the coronavirus pandemic is disproportionately affecting vulnerable communities including low-income, and Black and Hispanic workers, Mester said.
“Unless actions are taken to promote an inclusive economy — one in which people have the chance to move themselves and their families out of poverty, one in which systemic racism does not limit opportunities and one in which all people can fully participate — the U.S. economy will not be able to live up to its full potential and the country will suffer,” she said.
Mester said the U.S. can make progress by prioritizing investment at the neighborhood level while increasing access for poorer areas to broadband internet services, high-quality education and financial services.
Mester didn’t comment on monetary policy or her outlook for the U.S. economy.