Bernanke: despite recovery, many struggling

WASHINGTON Mon Aug 6, 2012 10:06am EDT

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reacts as he testifies before the House Committee on the Financial Services semi-annual monetary policy report on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 18, 2012. REUTERS/Jason Reed

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke reacts as he testifies before the House Committee on the Financial Services semi-annual monetary policy report on Capitol Hill in Washington, July 18, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Jason Reed

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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Monday that although broad measurements of the economy point to recovery, many people and businesses are facing tough times.

"Even though some key aggregate metrics -- including consumer spending, disposable income, household net worth, and debt service payments -- have moved in the direction of recovery, it is clear that many individuals and households continue to struggle with difficult economic and financial conditions," he said in prepared text.

Bernanke was speaking to a research conference on the topic of economic measurement. He did not discuss the outlook for monetary policy or refer to a report that the economy added a more-than-expected 163,000 jobs in July even as the jobless rate rose to 8.3 percent.

Bernanke said there have been interesting developments in the field of the measurement of economic well-being. He cited the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan's Gross National Happiness index, which incorporates indicators such as level of education and time spent in leisure activities, as an example of an alternative survey.

More conventional economic measurements that bear on the quality of life include income distribution, upward mobility, job security, and buffers households have to protect against financial shocks, he said.

"All of these indicators could be useful in measuring economic progress or setbacks as well as explaining economic decision making or projecting future economic outcomes," he said.

(Reporting By Mark Felsenthal; Editing by Sandra Maler)

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Comments (17)
whyknot wrote:
Life may be better for a few people compared to last year but many or most lost significant savings/wealth in their houses and 401k. Stock prices have moved back up while housing remains value depressed. So what has recovered, our attitude?

Aug 06, 2012 9:15am EDT  --  Report as abuse
QuidProQuo wrote:
Ah, yes, well when the feds don’t seem to realize that overheated energy and food prices way down all areas of life in America, it’s no wonder things are so bleak and joyless for so many. Where is the positive momentum, the feel good vibe, the confident upswing? Buried deep in the realm of mud and muck!

Aug 06, 2012 9:16am EDT  --  Report as abuse
LeeAdler wrote:
…thanks to ZIRP Bernankecide destroying the finances of America’s seniors.

Bernanke himself said that there are winners and losers for any policy change. He picks them. In this case, with ZIRP, he chose the defenseless and innocent elderly living off their savings as the target losers. Each day, thousands more are forced to exhaust their nest eggs earned over lifetimes of honest hard work and thrift, thanks to Bernanke targeting them for destruction so that bankers can get their bonuses. Bernankecide is a crime against humanity.

Aug 06, 2012 9:24am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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