Powell also highlighted the progress that’s been made since the Great Recession in getting many Americans off the sidelines and into the labor force. He pointed especially to gains made late in the expansion by racial minorities, the less educated and the disabled.

He added, however, “there is still plenty of room for building on these gains” and said that elected officials needed to do their part.

“The research literature suggests a variety of policies, beyond the scope of monetary policy, that could spur further progress by better preparing people to meet the challenges of technological innovation and global competition and by supporting and rewarding labor force participation,” he said.

Earlier in the day, Powell visited East Hartford, Connecticut to meet organizers of a local job training and economic development program. The initiative, East Hartford Connects, won a grant through project run by the Boston Fed.

After a tour of the area, Powell and Boston Fed President Eric Rosengren joined local officials, organizers and workers in an elementary school gymnasium ringed by basketball hoops to hear about the program’s fledgling successes.

“The labor market is in so many ways the gateway to lots of other forms of social progress,” Powell told the group. “There is no more important work” than what the group is doing in East Hartford, he said.

This story was provided by Bloomberg News.

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