BILLINGS — A Federal Reserve Bank chief visited Billings on Thursday and noted a few good things about the local economy.
"Overall it’s doing pretty well. Farmers have been suffering for a number of years with low commodity prices," said Neel Kashkari, president of the Minneapolis branch of the Federal Reserve. "Others are still doing well. There’s some nervousness about trade and the tariffs that are going on around the world, and the fights with China, so people are nervous about that. But I learned today that Billings’ economy is very diverse and diverse economies gives it a lot of resilience."
The Federal Reserve is charged with maintaining a sound banking system, setting interest rates for bank borrowing and fostering a healthy economy. The Minneapolis Fed serves six states, including Montana.
Part of Kashkari’s job is to learn how the economy is faring locally and use that information to help set rates.
The town-hall style event at Montana State University Billings included a question-and-answer session.
Kashkari wanted to find out if people here are able to find jobs and workers.
He asked about wages, and whether the public is optimistic, or concerned about the economy.