Research on US Racial Disparities Can Help Fed Reach Goals: Brainard

U.S. Federal Reserve policymakers have long argued that their main policy lever, setting interest rates, cannot fix the underlying problems that keep large numbers of Americans feeling left behind in a recovery the Fed has helped engineer.

But on Monday Federal Reserve Board Governor Lael Brainard became the latest policymaker to suggest that when white Americans persistently have lower unemployment rates than blacks, or when Hispanics renters are twice as likely as whites to face threats of eviction, economic growth may be stunted.

“While the policy tools available to the Federal Reserve are not well suited to addressing the barriers that contribute to persistent disparities in the labor market outcomes of different groups, understanding these barriers and efforts to address them is vital in assessing maximum employment as well as potential growth,” Brainard said in remarks prepared for delivery to the Opportunity and Inclusive Growth Institute Conference at the Minneapolis

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