Various theories have been put forward as to why April numbers weren’t better, including the perception that people would be fine sitting at home and receiving higher unemployment benefits, as well as concerns about ongoing Covid risks, inadequate childcare and anxiety Using crowded public transport.
Kashkari saw merit in all of these arguments, given the particular circumstances of the pandemic.
“It wasn’t just the government lockdowns that dampened the economy,” he said. “Each of us, each of your viewers, each family has taken measures to protect themselves. Yesterday, for the first time in over a year, I got on a plane again because my wife and I had been vaccinated and we were feeling fine. But it will be some time before this psychology changes. “
He added, “Now, over the next three or four months, the good news is, each of these factors should get better.”
Kashkari also cautioned against reading too much into any set of numbers.
“We shouldn’t be overreacting on any report – either the really good report that came out the previous month or last week’s report,” he said. “But I think the bottom line is we’re still somewhere between 8 and 10 million jobs below the pre-pandemic level. Around 8 to 10 million Americans should work now if the Covid crisis hadn’t happened. “