The Federal Reserve made the right decision to lower interest rates and engage in aggressive quantitative easing after the financial crisis hit, said Sandra Pianalto, CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.
The Fed Bank leader says four years later, the housing sector is finally seeing improvement.
But Pianalto added, "even with the aggressive and extraordinary actions that the FOMC has taken, we remain in a frustratingly slow economic recovery. Our economy is still struggling to build momentum almost five years after the Federal Reserve first began to ease monetary conditions."
The Fed Bank CEO spoke at the Central Ohio Business Luncheon, noting that the nation lost more than $7 trillion in household net wealth — a factor that's slowing the recovery.
Still, she says the housing sector is showing signs of improvement today even though home sales are still under historic trends.
"Most significantly, prices seem to have bottomed out in many housing markets around the country, and if this trend holds, it should stabilize household net worth and provide homeowners some greater confidence. This, in turn, would be a plus for economic growth," Pianalto added.
What remains a challenge are the large number of businesses that have decided to tightly control their investments and hiring, Pianalto said.
"Companies have built large cash positions as a precaution in uncertain times," she explained. One of their top concerns is trouble in the eurozone, a trend that could potentially impact exports.
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