Bernanke Predicts Slow Progress on Unemployment


Joshua Zumbrun and Craig Torres
bloomberg.com
July 17, 2012

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke testifies about the U.S. economy and Fed policy before the Senate Banking Committee in Washington. Bernanke said progress in reducing unemployment is likely to be “frustratingly slow” and repeated the Fed is ready to take further action to boost the recovery, while refraining from discussing specific steps.

Bernanke, responding to questions during testimony today to the Senate Banking Committee in Washington, said easing tools include further purchases of assets, such as mortgage-backed securities, reducing the interest rate that the Fed pays on reserves banks keep with the Fed, and altering its communications on the outlook for interest rates.

Bernanke and his colleagues on the Federal Open Market Committee are considering whether the economy will need additional stimulus to reduce a jobless rate stuck above 8 percent since February 2009. Last month, they decided to extend to the end of the year their program, known as Operation Twist, to lengthen maturities of assets on the Fed’s balance sheet.

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