Home > business and economics, documents in the news, Federal Reserve Board, government and politics > Speech — Chairman Ben S. Bernanke At the New York Economic Club, New York, New York (11/20/12)

Speech — Chairman Ben S. Bernanke At the New York Economic Club, New York, New York (11/20/12)

November 20, 2012

Speech — Chairman Ben S. Bernanke At the New York Economic Club, New York, New York
Source: Federal Reserve Board

The economy has continued to recover from the financial crisis and recession, but the pace of recovery has been slower than FOMC participants and many others had hoped or anticipated when I spoke here about three years ago. Indeed, since the recession trough in mid-2009, growth in real gross domestic product (GDP) has averaged only a little more than 2 percent per year.

Similarly, the job market has improved over the past three years, but at a slow pace. The unemployment rate, which peaked at 10 percent in the fall of 2009, has since come down 2 percentage points to just below 8 percent. This decline is obviously welcome, but it has taken a long time to achieve that progress, and the unemployment rate is still well above both its level prior to the onset of the recession and the level that my colleagues and I think can be sustained once a full recovery has been achieved. Moreover, many other features of the jobs market, including the historically high level of long-term unemployment, the large number of people working part time because they have not been able to find full-time jobs, and the decline in labor force participation, reinforce the conclusion that we have some way to go before the labor market can be deemed healthy again.

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