Fed’s Harker Says U.S. Economy Won’t Grow Unless Workers Retrain

American workers will need to upgrade their skills if the U.S. economy is to continue growing and it’s urgent that the government provide incentives for retraining, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia President Patrick Harker said.

“The economy will not grow unless we bring people up from the lower-skilled jobs into the middle class,” Harker said Tuesday during in interview with Bloomberg’s Carol Massar. “We really need to focus on retraining those people into different jobs as quickly as we can.”

The Philadelphia Fed chief said the economic blow wrought by the coronavirus pandemic may lead to a permanent decline of employment in sectors like retail, and in other areas of the economy where the workforce had already been facing the prospect of positions being automated away.

“Economic incentives given by governments -- say, tax credits, or others for job training -- make a lot of sense,” Harker said. “I would encourage more of these public-private partnerships through those kinds of tax credits.”

The full conversation will be broadcast Friday during the Bloomberg virtual event “Strengthening Economic Resiliency: Investing in the American Worker.”

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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