Fed’s Brainard: Labor Market Disparities Reducing Economy’s Potential

Labor market disparities in the U.S. economy are curbing the nation’s long-run potential growth, Federal Reserve Governor Lael Brainard said on Tuesday, as she urged the central bank to undertake more research to help diminish inequality.

“To the extent that disparities in income and wealth across race, ethnicity, gender, or geography reflect such disparities in opportunity…the disadvantaged groups will underinvest in education or business endeavors, and potential growth will fall short of the levels it might otherwise attain,” Brainard said at a Fed research conference on disparities in the labor market held in Washington.

In a speech entitled “Why persistent employment disparities matter for the economy’s health,” Brainard also said that high levels of income and wealth inequality could impact consumer spending.

U.S. central bank policymakers have in recent months broadened their policy debates to include such issues with Brainard in particular studying why communities get left behind.

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