Black researchers remain woefully underrepresented in the Federal Reserve system, comprising just 1.5% of its 945 economists, according to Fed data released publicly for the first time on Thursday.

Why is this important: The numbers highlight the Fed’s struggles with diversity as its 12-bank system and its DC Board of Governors make crucial economic policy decisions that have a wide range of impacts on communities of color.

  • The Fed has faced growing calls for greater diversity for years, with lawmakers and think tanks stressing the need for a wider range of perspectives.

Details: Fourteen economists with doctorates identify as black alone in the entire Fed system.

  • The board, which has 429 economists, employs one black man and no black women.
  • Blacks make up a larger share of Fed research assistants at around 5%.
  • Blacks make up 13.4% of the US population, according to the US Census Bureau.
  • Of Fed economists with doctorates, 72% are white, 17% are Asian, and 9.4% are Hispanic or Latino.

Zoom out: The new data confirms what was already known before.

What’s new: Sen. Bob Menendez (DN.J.), who serves on the Senate Banking Committee, said Thursday that he voted against confirming Jerome Powell to a second term as Fed chair because of the central bank’s “severe diversity problem”.

What to watch: The new Fed board will include two black governors, Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson. Cook is the first black woman to serve on the panel in its 108-year history.