US central bank chief urges policies to save middle class

Washington (AFP) –


US central bank chief Jerome Powell on Friday issued a plea for "sound public policies" to help more Americans reach and remain in the declining middle class.

The Federal Reserve chief noted that "income has grown more slowly for middle-class households since the 1970s than for those with higher incomes, resulting in wider income inequality."

In the 1950s, more than 80 percent of middle-class children were able to earn more than their parents, while now only half achieve that milestone, Powell said in a speech to a development research conference.

That means lower income households have less opportunity to reach the middle class to achieve a "basic level of economic security."

He attributed the dwindling middle class and increasing inequality to slower productivity, and differing job opportunities based on education, location and race.

"These issues are crucial. Sound public policies can support families and businesses and help more Americans reach and remain in the middle class," Powell said.

"I think we can agree that achieving a basic level of economic security is fundamental."