NEW YORK (Reuters) – The United States is “not where we need to be” on increasing employment levels of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, a top economic policymaker said on Tuesday.

Federal Reserve Bank of New York President John Williams said at an LGBT finance industry event that unemployment rates are nearly double the national average for people of those sexual orientations.

“As President of a Federal Reserve Bank, I am focused on two vital economic goals: maximum employment and stable prices for the U.S. economy,” Williams said in remarks prepared for delivery in New York. “These statistics paint a clear picture of why conferences like this one are so important: We are not where we need to be.”

Williams’ comments come as celebrations take place around the world to mark the Stonewall uprising in New York 50 years ago when patrons of a gay bar fought back against police harassment, which is seen as the beginning of the modern LGBT rights movement. Gay pride parades will also be celebrated around the world on June 30.

Williams did not comment on his economic or policy outlook less than a week after the Fed signaled it could cut interest rates by as much as half a percentage point over the remainder of this year in response to increased economic uncertainty and a drop in expected inflation. Yet one argument for keeping rates lower for longer is that doing so can bring more marginalized people into the workforce.


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