Bernanke: With unemployment ‘a grave concern,’ Fed is ready to do more

JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. – Chairman Ben Bernanke says high U.S. unemployment is a “grave concern” and that the Federal Reserve will provide more help if the economy doesn’t improve.

Bernanke stops short of committing the Fed to any specific move, such as another round of bond purchases to lower long-term interest rates.

But in a speech in Jackson Hole, Wyo., Bernanke suggests the Fed will consider further steps to boost the economy, which he describes as “far from satisfactory.”

He notes that further action carries risks but says the Fed can manage them.

The Fed “should not rule out” new policies to improve the job market, Bernanke says.

Bernanke defends Fed actions so far to stimulate the economy. He cites studies showing the Fed’s first two rounds of bond purchases created at least 2 million jobs.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.