Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta president speaks in Meridian

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MERIDIAN, Miss. (WTOK) - Raphael Bostic, the president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta, was the guest speaker at the EMBDC’s Business Before Hours Event. He took questions from local banking leaders about the economy.

“The U.S. economy has been in expansion for the last 10 years or so; we came out of the Great Recession, it was the most difficult economic experience we’ve had since the Great Depression,” Bostic says. “Mississippi is doing alright, it’s not one of the stronger economies from a national perspective, but there has been some growth in the recent couple of years that I think have been positive.”

Bostic says there is still work that needs to be done to keep improving the economy of the Deep South. He says one of the bigger problems facing the region is low labor participation rates due to disability and health issues that are not seen in other parts of the country.

“To the extent that we have potential resources that can contribute to the economy that are on the sidelines, that puts a cap or a constraint on how big we can be, how fast we can be from an economic perspective, and how robustly we can grow; that is lost potential,” Bostic explains. “And in a world that is becoming increasingly globally competitive, any potential that you don’t use, is potential that’s causing you to fall behind.”

The Federal Reserve is the U.S. Central Bank and its goal is setting monetary policy to keep our financial systems stable.

“We’re also a supervisor and a regulator of banking institutions, and we have a responsibility to make sure the financial system operates in a safe and sound way, but also in a resilient way,” Bostic explains.