Bernanke: US Economic Recovery Slow, but Progressing

Posted June 7th, 2011 at 5:40 pm (UTC-5)
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The head of the U.S. central bank says the nation's economic recovery has been “slower than expected” but the outlook for the second half of the year is more promising.

In a speech Tuesday in Atlanta, Federal Reserve Chairman Benjamin Bernanke said the jobs situation remains “far from normal,” and that the recovery cannot be considered “truly established” until there is a sustained period of job creation.

However, Bernanke said the economy is moving in the “right direction” and that he anticipates a stronger performance in the next six months, as gasoline prices moderate and the economic effects of Japan's tsunami and earthquake dissipate.

The remarks echo comments earlier in the day from U.S. President Barack Obama, who said he is confident the nation will not slip back into recession, but that he is concerned that job growth is too slow.

Recent economic reports showed the economy creating too few new jobs to push down the high unemployment rate anytime soon.

In his speech Tuesday, the central bank chief also downplayed talk of inflation, saying the recent increase in inflation should be “transitory.” But he did not promise further efforts to cut long-term interest rates — news investors and economists were watching for closely.

The Fed has just finished a round of purchases of financial assets to cut those rates, hoping this will make it easier for businesses to borrow the money they need to expand, buy equipment, and hire more people.