Good afternoon, everyone. It is a pleasure to join you here today and to share a few of my thoughts on financial stability issues with you. I would like to thank the Cleveland Fed and the Office of Financial Research for hosting this conference and for that very kind introduction. It is encouraging to see so many great minds devoting their time and attention to studying financial stability. At the Board, we dedicate considerable attention to this topic as well, and I would like to thank my colleagues, Vice Chair for Supervision Randy Quarles, Chair of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), and Governor Lael Brainard, for their leadership on these issues both internationally and at the Board.
It seems especially relevant to look closely at financial stability at this time, as the COVID-19 pandemic has had a profound impact on the U.S. economy and has tested the resilience of our financial system over the past nine months. Efforts to contain the virus triggered an economic downturn that was unprecedented in both its speed and its severity. Early on, more than 22 million jobs were lost in March and April, and though a significant number of people have returned to work since that time, we still face a shortfall in employment relative to its level before the onset of the pandemic.