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Bernanke: Federal Reserve Expects ‘Slow Progress’ On Unemployment

Filed by KOSU News in Business.
June 20, 2012

This hour, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke wil hold a press conference.

If you missed it, after a meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee ended, the Fed announced that because the economy had slowed since its last meeting, it would extend “Operation Twist” until the end of the year and pump an additional $267 billion into the program, which seeks to keep interest on long-term loans low.

The Federal Reserve will stream the conference live. We’ve embedded the video at the top of this post and we’ll circle back on this post with highlights of his comments.

The conference is scheduled to begin at 2:15 p.m. ET.

Update at 2:25 p.m. ET. Lowered Outlook:

In his press conference, Bernanke said that most most members of the Federal Reserve have “marked down” their outlooks of the economy.

Most expect there to be little change in the unemployment rate through the end of the year. The consensus, said Bernanke, is that the Fed expects “slow progress” on unemployment and most opinions are “weighted toward slower growth” on the GDP.

The AP reports on the published forecast:

“In an updated forecast, the Fed says it expects the economy will grow no faster than 2.4 percent this year. That’s much slower than the Fed’s April forecast, which projected growth as fast as 2.9 percent. And it is not much better than the 1.9 percent annual pace from the first three months of the year.

“The Fed also predicts the unemployment rate will fall no lower than 8 percent by the end of the year. It currently stands at 8.2 percent. In April, the Fed said the rate could be as low as 7.8 percent at year’s end.

“The central bank is forecasting lower inflation. At its highest, it expects inflation to rise 1.7 percent this year, well below its 2 percent target. The decline is largely because of a steep drop in gas prices.”

[Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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