Former Fed chair warns coronavirus could throw the US into recession

Former Fed chair warns coronavirus could throw the US into recession
© Getty Images

Janet YellenJanet YellenOn the Money — Yellen highlights wealth gap in MLK speech Yellen: US has 'much more work' to close racial wealth gap The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - Democrats see victory in a voting rights defeat MORE, who served as the first chairwoman of the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018, said on Wednesday that the concerning spread of the coronavirus across the world could put the U.S. economy on a path toward recession.

"We could see a significant impact on Europe, which has been weak to start with, and it’s just conceivable that it could throw the United States into a recession,” Yellen said in Michigan, Bloomberg reports.

“If it doesn’t hit in a substantial way in the United States, that’s less likely. We had a pretty solid outlook before this happened — and there is some risk, but basically I think the U.S. outlook looks pretty good," she added.

ADVERTISEMENT

Talking at a Brookings Institution event in Clinton Township, Mich., Yellen also reportedly said that factory closings in mainland China, where the disease originated, will affect supply chains for companies that rely on products from there and cause a decrease in consumer spending.

Stocks opened with steep losses Thursday morning as investor fears of the virus spreading grow. The Dow Jones Industrial Average formally entered a correction.

President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger welcomes baby boy Tennessee lawmaker presents self-defense bill in 'honor' of Kyle Rittenhouse Five things to know about the New York AG's pursuit of Trump MORE announced Wednesday evening that he is putting Vice President Pence in charge of the U.S. response to the novel coronavirus, saying his administration is "very, very ready for this."

“The number one priority from our standpoint is the health and safety of the American people,” Trump, standing next to Pence, said at the White House.