FILE – In this Jan. 29, 2020 file photo, Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell pauses during a news conference in Washington. The Federal Reserve is taking additional steps to provide up to $2.3 trillion in loans to suport American households and businesses as well as local governments as they deal with the coronavirus. (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)
UPDATED 10:55 AM PT — Thursday, April 9, 2020
The Federal Reserve said it will rollout more than $2 trillion worth of government loans to help ease the pain caused by the coronavirus. On Thursday, the Fed announced details from its anticipated Main Street Lending Program, which includes funds for businesses with up to 10,000 employees.
It also props up the Payroll Protection Program, which keeps workers on the books with their employers. This prevents them from having to file for unemployment and allows them to keep any health benefits their jobs offer.
In a recent statement, Federal Reserve chairman Jerome Powell said, “the Fed’s role is to provide as much relief and stability as we can during this period of constrained economic activity.”
Powell also assured that the Fed plans to keep interest rates to near zero until “they are confident the economy has weathered the storm and is on track to achieve maximum employment and stability goals.”
The announcement came after weekly jobless claims continued to surge amid the coronavirus pandemic. The Labor Department reported 6.6 million Americans filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week, which sharply beat expectations of 5 million.
The prior week’s claims were also revised higher by nearly 220,000, which brought the total over the past three weeks to more than 16 million unemployed Americans. The surge in claims came after businesses shutdown to prevent the spread of COVID-19.