Washington – The Federal Reserve Bank's policymaking board will consider additional steps to stimulate the U.S. economy when it meets next month, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said Friday at a gathering in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
He did not, however, mention any specific actions the Federal Open Market Committee could take.
"The Committee will continue to assess the economic outlook in light of incoming information and is prepared to employ its tools as appropriate to promote a stronger economic recovery in a context of price stability," Bernanke said in a speech to the annual Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City Economic Symposium.
The FOMC will meet for two days "instead of one to allow a fuller discussion," the chairman said.
"(I)t is clear that the recovery from the crisis has been much less robust than we had hoped," he said the same day that officials in Washington revised downward their estimate for second-quarter growth, from 1.3 percent to 1 percent.
A major priority, according to Bernanke, is reducing the ranks of the long-term unemployed: the more than 6 million U.S. workers who have been without jobs for more than six months.
The U.S. economy created only 117,000 net new jobs in July, bringing the official unemployment rate down by a tenth of a percentage point to 9.1 percent.
"Under these unusual circumstances, policies that promote a stronger recovery in the near term may serve longer-term objectives as well," Bernanke said at Jackson Hole.
Nearly 14 million people remain out of work more than two years after a recession that destroyed 8.4 million jobs, while the workforce participation rate - the proportion of the population working or seeking work - declined last month to 63.9 percent, the lowest since 1984.
The broader U6 unemployment rate, which includes part-time workers who would prefer full-time jobs and people who have given up looking, dipped in July from 16.2 percent to 16.1 percent.