The Associated Press
February 3, 2011
Bernanke Speak TodayBOTTOM LINE: Federal Reserve Chairman says the United States can't fully recover from the worst recession in decades until hiring improves.
LONG JOURNEY AHEAD: Bernanke says it will take "several years" before unemployment, now at 9.4 percent, drops to historically normal levels closer to 6 percent. The economy still needs support from the Fed's $600 billion bond-purchase program.
GLIMMERS OF HOPE: The economy is strengthening, and will grow faster this year. Consumers are spending more. And, the pace of layoffs has slowed. That should prompt companies to hire more this year, Bernanke says.
More Bernanke Speak Today
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Thursday that the economic recovery “appears to have strengthened in recent months” but that growth isn’t happening fast enough to bring down the high unemployment rate.
Although there is increasing evidence that “a self-sustaining recovery in consumer and business spending may be taking hold,” Bernanke warned that the economy still was far from where it should be.
"On the one hand, real-time transparency is very important and valuable," Bernanke said. "On the other hand, we don't want to create unnecessary uncertainty, unnecessary volatility in financial markets by saying things that may be misinterpreted if they're too ad hoc."
Sounding A Bit Like Deja Vu?
30 Bernanke Quotes That Are So Absurd
You Won’t Know Whether To Laugh Or Cry
July 2005: "We’ve never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis. So, what I think what is more likely is that house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don’t think it’s gonna drive the economy too far from its full employment path, though."
October 2005: "House prices have risen by nearly 25 percent over the past two years. Although speculative activity has increased in some areas, at a national level these price increases largely reflect strong economic fundamentals."
February 2006: "Housing markets are cooling a bit. Our expectation is that the decline in activity or the slowing in activity will be moderate, that house prices will probably continue to rise."
February 2007: "Despite the ongoing adjustments in the housing sector, overall economic prospects for households remain good. Household finances appear generally solid, and delinquency rates on most types of consumer loans and residential mortgages remain low."
March 2007: "At this juncture, however, the impact on the broader economy and financial markets of the problems in the subprime market seems likely to be contained. In particular, mortgages to prime borrowers and fixed-rate mortgages to all classes of borrowers continue to perform well, with low rates of delinquency."
January 2008: "The Federal Reserve is not currently forecasting a recession."
June 2008: "The risk that the economy has entered a substantial downturn appears to have diminished over the past month or so."
June 2009: "The Federal Reserve will not monetize the debt."
December 2010: "One myth that’s out there is that what we’re doing is printing money. We’re not printing money."