The following is a transcript of an interview with San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank President Mary Daly that aired Sunday, October 10, 2021, on “Face the Nation.”
MARGARET BRENNAN: We’re going to look now at the economy. Mary Daly is president of the San Francisco Federal Reserve Bank. Good morning to you.
FEDERAL RESERVE BANK OF SAN FRANCISCO PRESIDENT MARY DALY: Good morning.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Is job growth stalling?
DALY: It is a volatile period we’re in right now, COVID is not behind us, so I don’t expect the job market to just be continuous. It is going to have these ups and downs, especially with the Delta variant. So, I think it’s too soon to say it’s stalling, but certainly we’re seeing the pain of COVID, and the pain of the Delta variant impact the labor market.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But do you think you underestimated Delta’s impact?
DALY: Well, I always expected Delta to take a toll, just not put us into another recession, and we’re seeing that toll. We’re seeing this disrupt families, disrupt schooling, disrupt people’s ability to get to work and feel safe about it. And you’re- you see this in the monthly data, but you also see it in- in any community you walk around. Delta has- has taken a toll. But it hasn’t yet derailed us, and I- and I don’t have a different view than I had on it when we first started. It’s going to be hard and as goes COVID, so goes the economy.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You know, women are driving this decline. If you look at the numbers, last month, 26,000 jobs lost, more than men. Women are taking themselves out of the market. The participation rate is down. Black women in particular are suffering. What is behind these losses? And when do we reach the point where the damage is long term?
DALY: Well, it’s way too early to say the damage is long term, but we have to recognize that women, in particular women with children who are caring for elderly parents or caring for anyone, they’re under siege. They’ve been at this since COVID came to our shores and now they’re dealing with this. We thought school might save it, right? People would go back to school; kids would go back to school and women could take a deep breath. But what we see is that when a kid gets COVID because they’re not yet vaccinated and not able to get vaccinated, the classrooms are quarantined. A friend of mine has a business herself, her husband has a business. She has a kid who gets quarantined. Now she’s got a home school, one kid. And send the other kid to school. That is hard. And ultimately, it’s exhausting and women withdraw and say, I need to take care of my family. And when we’re past COVID, we’ll get through this. So I know they’re all out there saying, Let’s get vaccinated and let’s get this COVID thing completely behind us.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Since the beginning of the pandemic, US taxpayers have pumped about $6 trillion into trying to stabilize the economy through some of these congressional packages. Our CBS News poll, I want to show you two things here: 60% of those polled think the president is not doing enough to combat inflation and 46% think that his new social spending plan would hurt inflation. In other words, it would push up the prices they pay. Should Americans be concerned?
DALY: Well, right now, Americans are feeling it in their pocketbooks. Everyone’s feeling the rising prices for energy, food, basic services, and that’s painful because they- they aren’t- we aren’t used to seeing it. It’s eye popping in some categories. And of course, that’s challenging, especially for low- and moderate-income families who were- they spend most of their money on food and energy. So, this is really hard. And it’s also really directly related to COVID. It’s related to the supply bottlenecks, to the disruptions. That we can’t get in the global economy people fully back to work. We can’t in the US get people fully back to work. We have these really anxious to get out there and spend consumers hitting the wall of supply constraints and of course, the prices are going to- to rise. But I don’t see this as a long-term phenomena. And the issue again comes back to, if we can get through COVID, we’ll get back to the normal conditions where we’re more used to and the ones we all want.
MARGARET BRENNAN: But you don’t see the spending- the emergency spending as inflationary?
DALY: Well, any time you spend, it’s going to add additional pressure to the demand that’s going on in the economy. So the key is if the spending that we do as consumers is coupled with the expansion of supply, then we’re going to be fine. But if it- if we continue to have supply bottlenecks and we keep spending, then we’re going to have more inflation.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yeah. Well, I- I was pointing there to the president and the flak he might take based on our poll. But I want to ask you, since you are out in California, we mentioned all those ships off the coast, container ships unable to come to ports in Los Angeles, in Long Beach. How will these kinds of delays impact holiday spending?
DALY: Well, right now we see consumers trying to get out early and spend their money to get their goods before they run out. What I really see happening is that people are going to have longer wait times. If you’re trying to buy something for the holidays, people are buying it now and they’re being told oftentimes they can’t get it until after the holiday has passed. So there are going to be delays. There are going to be continued bottlenecks. There’s probably going to be some pressure on holiday item prices, and we’re going to have to continue to get through that. The key again, is just get more supply to the labor market, to the goods market so that we can get through this.
MARGARET BRENNAN: All right. Mary Daly, thank you for your analysis and for joining us today. We’ll be right back.