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Powell testifies before Congress in September. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Pool/AFP via Getty Images)

There's a risk the U.S. economy is in for a "longer than expected slog back to full recovery," Fed chairman Jerome Powell said at the National Association for Business Economics' virtual conference on Tuesday.

Why it matters: There was a sharp rebound when the economy reopened from the pandemic shutdown, but there are signs the bounce back is petering out. Powell said there's little risk of "overdoing" economic support, a nod to Congress — which it is at a stalemate over additional stimulus.

What he's saying: "Even if policy actions ultimately prove to be greater than needed, they will not go to waste," Powell said.

  • "The recovery will be stronger and move faster if monetary policy and fiscal policy continue to work side by side to provide support to the economy until it is clearly out of the woods."

Go deeper

Dion Rabouin, author of Markets
Jan 7, 2021 - Economy & Business

Job losses suggest labor market's "dark days" could return

Data: Investing.com; Chart: Axios Visuals

The ADP private payrolls report showed U.S. employers cut 123,000 non-government jobs in December, the first net job loss since April.

Why it matters: There are still 10 million more unemployed Americans than there were in February and the report suggests a weak job climate could persist, despite recent relief efforts from Congress.

Republicans pledge to set aside differences and work with Biden

President Biden speaks to Sen. Mitch McConnell after being sworn in at the West Front of the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. Photo: Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images

Several Republicans praised President Biden's calls for unity during his inaugural address on Wednesday and pledged to work together for the benefit of the American people.

Why it matters: The Democrats only have a slim majority in the Senate and Biden will likely need to work with the GOP to pass his legislative agenda.

The Biden protection plan

Joe Biden announces his first run for the presidency in June 1987. Photo: Howard L. Sachs/CNP/Getty Images

The Joe Biden who became the 46th president on Wednesday isn't the same blabbermouth who failed in 1988 and 2008.

Why it matters: Biden now heeds guidance about staying on task with speeches and no longer worries a gaffe or two will cost him an election. His staff also limits the places where he speaks freely and off the cuff. This Biden protective bubble will only tighten in the months ahead, aides tell Axios.