Fed’s Evans says ‘reasonable’ to expect U.S. to return to growth after June

FILE PHOTO: Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans looks on during the Global Interdependence Center Members Delegation Event in Mexico City, Mexico, February 27, 2020. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

(Reuters) – Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans said on Tuesday that it’s “reasonable” to expect a return to economic growth in the second half of the year, but that such an outcome is only slightly more likely than other, more pessimistic views.

In a conference call with reporters, Evans said he viewed efforts to reopen the economy even as the coronavirus pandemic continues to be a “bold decision with pretty high risks,” and added, “the pickup in activity will likely be slow at first, because of continued social distancing and other safety precautions.”

If all goes well, he said, unemployment — expected to rise to double digits this quarter — could be back down to 5% by the end of next year.

Reporting by Ann Saphir; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama