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Fed Chairman Jerome Powell at the G20 finance ministers and central bankers meeting in Venice last month. Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP via Getty Images

One of the country's most influential economic officials doesn't anticipate that surging coronavirus cases will knock the reopening recovery off course.

What he's saying: "There has tended to be less economic implications from each [coronavirus] wave. We'll see if that's the case for the Delta variety," Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell told reporters today.

Why it matters: The Fed's early link between the economy's fate and the virus appears to be weakening.

  • "Many people are vaccinated and going on with their lives," Powell said, saying the economy is learning to live with the virus.

Yes, but: Powell did hedge, noting that "it's easy to imagine" that some people hold off returning to work because of the virus.

  • And the latest Fed statement (which investors obsess over) still reads: "The path of the economy continues to depend on the course of the virus" — although it no longer includes the word "significantly" as a qualifier.

The backdrop: CEOs have been using the "u" word — uncertainty — in response to questions about rising case counts.

  • But those worries aren't enough to pare back how much money they plan to make this year. It's a familiar theme playing out across much of corporate America.

The latest example ... McDonald's.

  • "There is still some uncertainty as we continue to see pandemic-related stops and starts in markets around the world, especially now with the Delta variant," McDonald's CEO Chris Kempczinski said Wednesday.
  • Still, McDonald's has bigger expectations for 2021 sales now than it did three months ago.

What to watch: Some employers are already reconsidering office reopening plans.

Go deeper: Fed acknowledges economic progress, maintains supportive policy

Go deeper

Kate Marino, author of Markets
Nov 3, 2021 - Economy & Business

Fed chair lays out taper timeline, says rate liftoff not discussed at FOMC meeting

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

The Federal Open Market Committee on Wednesday laid out a framework for reducing — or tapering — the emergency bond purchases it's been making since March 2020.

Why it matters: These purchases, totaling $120 billion per month, were a keystone in the federal government's rescue of financial markets, which went into free fall soon after countries around the world instituted widespread stay-at-home orders.

Kate Marino, author of Markets
Nov 4, 2021 - Economy & Business

Fed chair Jerome Powell on the meaning of transitory inflation

Federal Reserve chair Jerome Powell. Photo: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

“Transitory” officially reached buzzword status midyear — when it exited the realm of financial wonks and seeped into the outside world where everyday people were talking about inflation.

The latest: Even so, no one knew exactly what it meant in the context of inflation — because the Federal Reserve has never really defined it. On Wednesday, though, Fed chair Jerome Powell went further than he has before in explaining how he interprets the term.

Updated 9 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Pfizer and Moderna boosters overwhelmingly prevent Omicron hospitalizations, CDC finds — Omicron pushes COVID deaths toward 2,000 per day — The pandemic-proof health care giant.
  2. Vaccines: The case for Operation Warp Speed 2.0 — Starbucks drops worker vaccine or test requirement after SCOTUS ruling — Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America.
  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker