At a forum in Cleveland Thursday, Federal Reserve System Chairman Ben Bernanke called the U.S.’ unemployment a “national crisis” and indicated the Fed could continue implementing unconventional policies if economic growth remains stagnant.
“We’ve had close to 10 percent unemployment now for a number of years and, of the people who are unemployed, about 45 percent have been unemployed for six months or more,” Bernanke said.
This was Bernanke’s first public comment since the Fed announced it would shift $400 billion of its short-term debt over to longer-term Treasuries in an effort hold down long-term interest rates and boost the housing sector.
Bernanke said the Fed might need to ease monetary policy further if inflation or inflation expectations fall quickly.
The U.S. economy economy grew at an annualized rate of 1.3 percent in the second quarter of the year.