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Janet Yellen pushes for $1.9 trillion in stimulus after weak jobs numbers, saying there’s ‘so much pain’ in the economy

Summary List PlacementTreasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday renewed her push for Congress to approve $1.9 trillion of stimulus, saying "there's so much pain in this economy." Yellen told CNBC that she is not overly worried about inflation, which has been "very low for over a decade." She said the...

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Summary List Placement

Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen on Thursday renewed her push for Congress to approve $1.9 trillion of stimulus, saying “there’s so much pain in this economy.”

Yellen told CNBC that she is not overly worried about inflation, which has been “very low for over a decade.” She said the bigger risk is “scarring” on the economy if Congress does not act.

Her comments to Sara Eisen on “Closing Bell” came after figures showed that the number of Americans filing jobless claims unexpectedly rose last week to 861,000.

The data contrasted with stronger-than-expected January retail-sales figures released a day earlier, and suggested the US economy’s recovery is progressing unevenly.

President Joe Biden’s administration is pushing for a $1.9 trillion support package. As part of the bill it wants to send $1,400 stimulus checks to Americans.

Yellen said: “We’re hoping to see progress over the next couple of weeks in enacting that package into law.”

She said the administration thinks it is “very important to have a big package [that] addresses the pain” the coronavirus pandemic has caused.

Critics have said the economy is showing strong signs of growth and does not warrant almost $2 trillion more in stimulus.

But Yellen, who was chair of the Federal Reserve and has specialized in labor economics, said the unemployment rate “if properly measured” is close to 10%.

“I think the price of doing too little is much higher than the price of doing something big. We think that the benefits will far outweigh the costs in the longer run.”

Yellen said she is not worried about inflation for now. “Inflation has been very low for over a decade,” she said. Although she said inflation is a “risk,” she said the bigger risk is of “scarring” to the economy.

“There’s so much pain in this economy,” she said. “I think these [stimulus] checks really will provide relief and they’ll help jump-start our economy.”

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