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Philadelphia, PA — Patrick T. Harker, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia, told an audience at the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum that the economy was recovering more strongly than originally anticipated, but that significant risks related to COVID-19 and fiscal policy remain. Harker, delivering a keynote address at a conference focused on artificial intelligence and machine learning, addressed the forum virtually.
Harker, a voting member of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) this year, projected continued GDP growth through this year and next, although he added that employment would likely not return to pre-pandemic levels until 2023. He further cautioned that continued growth depended on wearing a mask indoors and introducing a vaccine for COVID-19 in the middle or latter part of next year. Harker added that fiscal support for the economy would likely be necessary to support growth.
Reflecting on artificial intelligence and machine learning, Harker observed that COVID-19 had significantly impacted algorithms used to evaluate credit risk. He also urged lawmakers and regulators to consider methods of redressing racial inequities that might carry over into algorithmic decision-making.