“It may well be the case that the economy will need more support from all of us if the recovery is to be a robust one,” Mr Powell said.
While Mr Powell avoided making any specific predictions about how high the US jobless rate would go, he said economic data for the second quarter will be “worse than anything seen” before.
“We are going to see economic data for the second quarter worse than anything seen”, amid surging unemployment and a collapse in spending.
Mr Powell warned investors that markets are trying to price in “something that’s is unknowable” – the scale and duration of the pandemic.
He listed among his doubts the potential of a second wave of infections whether there will be drug treatments to combat the COVID-19 virus.
“All of that is very much shrouded in uncertainty,” he said.
Mr Powell also cautioned that a prolonged downturn could cause a legacy of lasting damage by pushing too many workers into long-term unemployment.
He added that another source of weakness would be needless bankruptcies.
Businesses are “worth so much more to the economy than the sum of their net assets”.
“If we see an unnecessary wave of insolvency that could be damaging to the economy over time.”
“Third… this is a very global phenomenon. We’re seeing economic data around the world which is very negative… that too can weigh” on the US economy, the chairman said.