Thursday, June 23, 2011

Economic outlook: blah

This should be good for the housing market:
Ben Bernanke and the rest of the Federal Reserve have grown more pessimistic about the state of the U.S. economy.

At the conclusion of a two-day policy meeting, the central bank said that while the recovery is continuing at a moderate pace, growth is somewhat slower than expected. It also said the jobs market is "weaker than anticipated."

It also issued new economic projections that call for slower economic growth, higher unemployment and higher inflation in 2011 and 2012 than in its previous forecast. At a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Fed chairman Bernanke referred to the new forecast as a significant revision.

The Fed said in its statement that it believed some of the headwinds would be short-lived, including supply disruptions from the Japanese earthquake, and the "effect of higher food and energy prices on consumer purchasing power."

But Bernanke said he and other Fed policymakers aren't certain how much of the weakness is due to those temporary factors and how much is due to longer-lasting problems.

He said continued problems in the housing market, excess private sector debt and weakness in the financial sector might be more serious than previously thought. And he suggested the labor market is a long way from being healed.

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