WASHINGTON, United States (AP) — The US economy is poised for an extended period of strong growth and hiring, the chair of the Federal Reserve said in a recent interview, though the novel coronavirus still poses some risk.

Chair Jerome Powell said that he doesn’t expect to raise the Fed’s benchmark interest rate, currently pegged at nearly zero, this year. And he downplayed the risk of higher inflation stemming from sharp increases in Government spending and expanding budget deficits.

“We feel like we’re at a place where the economy’s about to start growing much more quickly and job creation coming in much more quickly,” Powell said. “This growth that we’re expecting in the second half of this year is going to be very strong. And job creation, I would expect to be very strong.”