By Jonathan Spicer
NEW YORK, March 5 Federal Reserve Chair Janet
Yellen vowed on Wednesday to do all that she can to boost a U.S.
economy that is running well short of the central bank's
"The economy continues to operate considerably short of
these objectives" of maximum employment and stable prices,
Yellen said according to prepared remarks at a swearing-in
ceremony at the central bank in Washington.
"The economy is stronger and the financial system is
sounder," added Yellen, who succeeded Ben Bernanke on Feb. 1.
"We have come a long way, but we have farther to go."
The brief comments were a broad reiteration of what she told
two congressional committees last month: that the United States
appears to be clawing its way back from the 2007-2009 recession
but that the Fed is in no rush to tighten policy.
The world's biggest economy expanded at a decent 2.4 percent
rate in the fourth quarter and has slowed this year due in part
to severe weather. The U.S. unemployment rate is down to 6.6
percent, from a recessionary high of 10 percent in 2009, but it
remains high and jobs growth is erratic.
The Fed targets 2 percent inflation and wants to see
joblessness fall to around 5.5 percent.
"Too many Americans still can't find a job or are forced to
work part-time," Yellen said on Wednesday, underscoring her
long-standing focus on the troubled labor market.
"I promise to never forget the individual lives, experiences
and challenges that lie behind the statistics we use to gauge
the health of the economy," she said. "When we make progress
toward our goals, each job that is created lifts this burden for
someone who is better equipped to be a good parent, to build a
stronger community, and to contribute to a more prosperous
Turning to Wall Street reforms, Yellen said the Fed will
move forward "quickly and responsibly" to complete the work that
remains to safeguard the financial system.