Federal Reserve sees no quick rebound for the economy

The U.S. Federal Reserve pledged Wednesday to keep interest rates near zero to support the struggling economy. While there’s been some recent signs of improvement in the economy, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell says it will take awhile before employment gets back to the levels seen before the pandemic. He said the current economic downturn is “the most severe in our lifetimes.”

Industry groups are speaking out against two bills they say would add costs to businesses at the worst possible time, given that many are struggling in the current economy. One bill would require employers of essential workers to pay workmen’s compensation costs if an employee contracts COVID-19 on the job. Another bill would impose a tax on some health insurance coverage plans purchased by businesses.

The CEOS of four of the biggest technology companies testified at a House committee hearing looking into whether a handful of online platforms have too much market dominance. The executives from Amazon, Facebook, Google and Apple defended their business models and touted the number of jobs they’ve created in recent years.