Fed's Harker says U.S. economy is not going to 'snap right back'

(Reuters) - The pandemic has exacerbated inequality and accelerated automation, and it will take time for the U.S. economy to return to previous levels, Philadelphia Federal Reserve Bank President Patrick Harker said on Friday.

Some workers will need help from retraining programs before there can be a full recovery, Harker said during a previously recorded Bloomberg News interview that aired on Friday.

“We’re not just going to snap right back to the previous economy,” Harker said. “I think that’s unrealistic.”

Harker repeated his view that some low-income workers will need help training for better-paying jobs. Hiring in some sectors, including retail, is unlikely to fully return to prior levels now that some companies are relying more on technology, he said.

Women and minorities in particular need help moving into the middle class - a shift that can lead to broader economic growth, Harker said. “It’s not just the right thing to do morally,” he said. “We all benefit.”

Reporting by Jonnelle Marte, Editing by Franklin Paul and Jonathan Oatis