Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke called the domestic job market weak, despite a recent spate of hiring news. He also said the central bank’s existing policies will help boost economic growth, but that further “accommodative policies” may be needed.
Bernanke’s comments, delivered at the National Association for Business Economics spring conference in Arlington, Va., drove stocks higher by triple digits as of midday Monday, as the market interpreted his words to mean the Fed was likely to continue with its plan to keep short-term interest rates at current levels through 2014.
Though the job gains have helped support consumer confidence and incomes, “we have not seen that in a persuasive way yet,” said Bernanke (left), according to The Associated Press. The Fed needs to “remain cautious” in deciding what its next moves should be, he said.
Employers added an average of 245,000 jobs a month from December through February. The unemployment rate has fallen to 8.3%, from a peak of 10.2% in October 2009.