Who is bearing the brunt of the pandemic's economic pain?

President Biden's nearly $2 trillion stimulus package on Friday cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate, as a tepid jobs report confirmed the economy is still sputtering from the pandemic. Raphael Bostic, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss who has been most impacted and the federal government's response in reaching those in need.

Who is bearing the brunt of the pandemic's economic pain?

President Biden's nearly $2 trillion stimulus package on Friday cleared a procedural hurdle in the Senate, as a tepid jobs report confirmed the economy is still sputtering from the pandemic. Raphael Bostic, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, joins Judy Woodruff to discuss who has been most impacted and the federal government's response in reaching those in need.

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Judy Woodruff:

Let's take a closer look now at who is bearing the brunt of the pandemic's economic pain, and whether federal relief efforts are reaching those who are most in need.

For that, we turn to Raphael Bostic. He's the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta.

Mr. Bostic, thank you so much for joining us.

Let me start by asking you about the economy overall. It was just a few days ago the Congressional Budget Office was forecasting we're going to see a robust recovery in the middle of this year, but then today and yesterday we're seeing discouraging reports about unemployment, how many people are out of work and have been for a long time.

What does this economy look like to you?

Raphael Bostic:

Well, I think there are two things to keep in mind here.

One is that, in the current period, we have a virus that is still going through the economy and going through our population quite significantly. So, while that's happening, we're going to see choppy times, and I think we're going to have rough times for the next couple of months.

But, as the vaccine gets further into the population, I do we are going to turn to a much more robust growth period. But that's going to not come until the summertime, at the earliest. So, we have really got to try to weather this time as much as we can.

Judy Woodruff:

Well, to bring it down to the individual level, who in this economy is doing well, or maybe about to do better, and who is going to be struggling for the foreseeable future?

Raphael Bostic:

Well, this pandemic has really hit the population in two different ways.

We have a number of people who have jobs where they're able to work from home, they don't necessarily need to be next to people or close to people to do their work. They're doing fine, and they're going to continue to do fine.

It's people who have jobs where proximity is important, the service industries, like in restaurants and in grocery stores. Those are the types of jobs we're going to see struggles. And that will likely continue for months to come.

Judy Woodruff:

So, given that, Mr. Bostic, what do you make of the Biden administration's proposal for COVID economic relief, $1.9 trillion? And we know that could change some.

But that's what they're proposing. What do you make of the focus of it, the price tag, and what it's aiming to fix?

Raphael Bostic:

Well, I think it's very important that we get relief to people across the economy, because there's still a lot of uncertainty that's out there.

And people are nervous, and people need to have that support, know that that's there. I think the support to unemployment insurance is extremely important, because those are people we know have problems. But we also have to think about how we get support to small businesses that may not have participated in the Paycheck Protection Program and to a number of families that have really stepped away from employment altogether.

We can't forget them, because they are definitely at risk.