“When 13 million people are unemployed and people and small businesses are suffering, it is far more important than the vicissitudes of Wall Street,” Dimon told CNN’s Christine Romans. “We should be worried about that.”
Dimon said businesses should do more to help low-income Americans and minority groups. Because of that, he joined a new initiative to work with educational institutions and nonprofits in the New York area to create more job opportunities for Black, Latin American and Asian workers. He said that government alone cannot solve society’s biggest problems.
“The pace is fast, the world has become more complex, and these problems of education, employment, infrastructure and immigration. If you fix these problems, we will have a far fairer society,”
Dimon, along with Chancellor Félix Matos Rodriguez of the City University of New York, spoke to the Romans last week about the launch of the New York Jobs CEO Council, a coalition of 27 business leaders committed to hiring 100,000 New Yorkers and offering apprenticeships to 25,000 by 2030 CUNY students.
According to Matos Rodriguez, the council’s goal is to create new connections for his school’s students – many of whom will be the first in the family to enter college.
“The idea is to build new networks,” said Matos Rodriguez. “This internship will be the start of networking. And then everyone will see what kind of talent there is.”
LaGuardia Community College student Matthew Wilson was one of the beneficiaries of the job program. Wilson, who has a criminal background, earned college credits in prison before being released from prison in 2016.
Wilson enrolled at LaGuardia in 2017 and was recommended for the Honors Society and the college’s Honors Internship Programs. Wilson was selected for an internship at NBC, working as a production assistant for the network’s local news channel in New York.
Dimon said that for many younger people, the opportunity to work with large companies shows that “jobs create dignity, achieve better social outcomes, and that … there is always the first step on the ladder”.
Dimon hopes the worst pandemic will be over soon
During the extensive interview, Dimon also said the US is “slowly getting the virus under control and other countries”.
He commended the leaders in Washington for their incentives so far.
“The government got it right,” said Dimon. “You can criticize some of these programs, but I think the government, Secretary Mnuchin, the Democrats, the Republicans did it in a matter of weeks. Have you ever seen our government do anything in a matter of weeks?”
However, Dimon also said that more government incentives were needed, adding that there shouldn’t be a feeling of complacency just because the stock market has come back to life in recent months.
‘We’ll be fine’
Dimon didn’t shake his hand when asked what might happen for the bank after the presidential and congressional elections in November.
“My job is to guide JPMorgan, serving our customers, our communities, our countries, etc. and the United States of America. And that’s the job, and we’ll be fine with a Democrat or a Republican,” said he.
But Dimon said he wanted more courtesy and humanity in any political discourse – a return to people who put the country before the interests of the partisans.
“What I really hope is that every president says we have to fix the infrastructure, we have to help education. We have to do these things right. And do it in a way that creates good, healthy growth,” he said .
Still, Covid-19 can change the economy forever. Dimon said JPMorgan Chase will continue to be “very flexible” when it comes to letting people work from home and that the bank has around 150,000 people working remotely.
“We will try to improve childcare services or let people know where the childcare is,” he added.
“I’m almost back to normal today, I like going to work, I do a lot more here,” Dimon told the Romans. The bank is running temperature checks on employees, offices have new air filters, and employees practice social distancing, he said.
Dimon, who said he had no plans to retire until 2023 two years ago, failed to address the issue of succession planning – despite his health problems and the fact that it’s a favorite game of Wall Street analysts to find out who could replace Dimon investors.
“I feel great, I’m doing most of the things I did before. I think people who have meaning in life are a good thing,” he said. “I love what I do.”