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Bernanke Notes Labor Market Concerns

Wall Street Journal (03/26/12) Ben Casselman

Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said today that high long-term unemployment is likely caused more by cyclical rather than structural factors, and that extremely low interest rates should continue to bring down the jobless rate. Bernanke cited a wide range of indicators indicating a “notable” drop in unemployment. However, he cautioned that conditions remain “far from normal,” with uncertainty lingering about whether the relatively rapid improvement over the past year is sustainable.

“Further significant improvements in the unemployment rate will likely require a more-rapid expansion of production and demand from consumers and businesses, a process that can be supported by continued accommodative policies,” Bernanke said in prepared remarks to the annual conference of the National Association for Business Economics.