Bernanke: Fed to Closely Monitor the Economy
Jobless benefits filed by American workers fell for the first time in over a month; however, the overall level is still higher than past months, leading the Feds to closely monitor the economy closely.
The weak U.S. employment data released by the Labor Department last week along with Europe’s economic crises will prompt the Fed to step in to support a weak recovery.
On Tuesday, before the Joint Economic Committee and Congress Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said economic growth has continued at a moderate rate so far this year. The real gross domestic product (GDP) rose at an annual rate of about percent in the first quarter after increasing at a 3 percent pace in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Bernanke said labor market conditions improved earlier this year and towards the end of 2011.
The unemployment rate has fallen about 1 percentage point since last August, with payroll employment increasing 225,000 per month, on average, during the first three months of this year, up 150,000 jobs added per month in 2011 according to the statement.
In April and May this year, job gains slowed to an average of 75,000 per month, and the unemployment rate ticked up to 8.2 percent. The slowing in the labor market may have been exaggerated by issues related to seasonal adjustment and the unusually warm weather this past winter.
Bernanke offered no signal Thursday that it was planning renewed economic stimulus, but promised the Fed was ready to act if the U.S. economy weakens. Instead, he called on lawmakers to adopt sustainable spending and taxation policies.