By Michael S. Derby 

Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta President Raphael Bostic said Wednesday there are signs that the U.S. economy's recovery from the coronavirus pandemic-induced recession may be stalling as some parts of the country appear to have not handled reopening efforts as well as they could have.

Some real-time economic data suggest the "energy in terms of reopening for businesses and for just general activity is starting to level off," Mr. Bostic told reporters after a video appearance.

Mr. Bostic, who doesn't currently hold a voting role on the rate-setting Federal Open Market Committee, said the outlook for the economy remains uncertain. But he also said that some of the more positive outcomes appear less likely than before as coronavirus cases surge.

"I had in my head some more optimistic scenarios and some less optimistic scenarios," Mr. Bostic said. "Some of the data might have me leaning towards less optimistic scenarios in terms of how much recovery there will be."

"We needed to reopen, but we need to do it cautiously and in a judicious way," Mr. Bostic told reporters. "I think some of the response to the ability to reopen has been done in a way that has probably less caution than I would have liked, and is introducing the possibility for higher infection rates."

Mr. Bostic's Federal Reserve district includes Florida, one of the pandemic's biggest current hot spots.

During his video presentation, Mr. Bostic said he doesn't believe a broad shutdown of the economy is likely again, adding that he expects responses to the pandemic will be targeted: "I don't think we'll see the same sort of blanket shutdown that we saw before, at the very early stages of this."

Efforts to restrict economic activity as some states are doing is coming at a cost that is concerning, Mr. Bostic added. "I do worry significantly about what those things do to the collective psyche of the consumer," because a recovery depends on consumers feeling they can safely re-engage with the economy, he said.

Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis President James Bullard has warned a number of times that an extended closure of the economy risks sending the U.S. into a full scale depression.

Mr. Bostic didn't point to any new actions on the part of the Fed, but he said central bankers will continue looking for ways to help the economy and are considering whether some other part of the government might be better suited for action.

"The Fed definitely needs to think about whether more is necessary," he told reporters.

Write to Michael S. Derby at


(END) Dow Jones Newswires

July 08, 2020 16:46 ET (20:46 GMT)

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