He also said that there was "nothing fundamentally wrong" with the underlying US economy and argued that confidence would return when the spread of the novel coronavirus was under control. "The virus is going to dictate the timetable here".
Jerome Powell speaks during a press conference after a Federal Open Market Committee meeting in Washington, DC on July 31, 2019.
He said the central bank would lend "aggressively" to ensure that happens, with an expected US$424 billion commitment from the U.S. Treasury to cover any losses, allowing the Fed to unleash perhaps US$4 trillion for credit to "Main Street".
It has cut its benchmark interest rate to almost zero, embarked on an unlimited bond-buying program to pump cash into the financial system and set up several emergency programs meant to ensure that banks can keep lending to companies and city and state governments.
"Essentially the answer to your question is no", he added.
"People are being asked to close their businesses, stay home from work and to not engage in certain kinds of economic activity, and so they're pulling back", he said. "And the sooner we get through this period and get the virus under control, the sooner the recovery can come".
That would possibly imply the US getting into a recession, the Fed leader conceded, however argued it could be transient.
The look on the preferred morning display as many Americans are caught in their houses marks the Fed leader's first public remarks since he held an odd Sunday night press briefing by means of teleconference on March 15 to announce the central bank had slashed rates of interest to almost 0.
"We will keep doing that aggressively and forthrightly, as we have been", Powell mentioned in a unprecedented interview on NBC's "Today" display Thursday. "There's nothing fundamentally wrong with our economy". "Quite the contrary. We are starting from a very strong position".
"We may well be in a recession", Powell said.
"The first order of business will be to get the spread of the virus under control and then resume economic activity".
Newsweek has contacted the Federal Reserve for further comment and will update this article with any response.