Bullard: 46 million workers could be jobless in short-term

FILE PHOTO: St. Louis Federal Reserve Bank President James Bullard speaks at a public lecture in Singapore October 8, 2018. REUTERS/Edgar Su/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As many as 46 million people in the U.S. may be left jobless in the short term as companies shut down services that have “high contact” with the public during the battle against the coronavirus epidemic, St. Louis Federal Reserve president James Bullard said on Wednesday.

“They are people who are in some kind of occupation where they have interaction with the public and that is exactly what our health authorities say is not supposed to be occurring,” Bullard said in the latest of a series of interviews with media. He said the hit to the economy in coming weeks can be short term if policymakers move fast to rollout income support and other programs.

Reporting by Howard Schneider; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama