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Bernanke Predicts Slow Progress on Unemployment

Bloomberg (07/17/12) Joshua Zumbrun; Craig Torres

In July 17 testimony to the U.S. Senate Banking Committee, Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, said it will take time to lower the unemployment rate due to the European financial crisis, the possibility of U.S. fiscal tightening, and the fact that high jobless rates and tighter credit standards have slowed household spending. “Given that growth is projected to be not much above the rate needed to absorb new entrants to the labor force, the reduction in the unemployment rate seems likely to be frustratingly slow,” he said. Bernanke did not pledge any new policies, but he said the Fed will take steps to jump start the recovery if needed. Any support to the economy, he said, must consider “both the need for long-run sustainability and the fragility of the recovery.”