Fed chairman says central bank concerned about rural poverty

Photo Source: Federal Reserve / MGN

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) - Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said that the U.S. economy overall is strong but many rural areas are falling farther behind.

He said that unemployment in the poorest rural counties is more than double the national average last year, while those employed or looking for jobs in their prime working years has increasingly lagged during the current expansion.

To address this problem, the Fed is supporting a number of initiatives ranging from sponsoring regional forums to spur rural economic development to supporting efforts to advance internet access in low-income rural areas.

In comments Thursday to a rural housing conference, Powell said the Fed is committed to pursuing ways to ensure that the current economic upturn benefits areas that have been left behind.

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