Bernanke told Congress today that the country’s economic outlook has deteriorated. But, perhaps as a way to say "let’s be friends," he also hinted that the central bank is prepared to continue lowering a key interest rate as needed to boost the economy.
The depressed economy is mostly because of a one-two punch from the credit and housing industries. As a result, reports the Associated Press, hiring has slowed and people are tightening their belts more and more as their single biggest asset – their homes – drop in value.
Naturally, Bernanke’s testimony didn’t fill the stock market with a sense of optimism, and Wall Street kept its distance. After he said the economy would grow at a sluggish pace, the Dow Jones industrial average fell about 100 points, reports Madlen Read for the Associated Press.
More positive was the Labor Department’s report that the number of workers seeking unemployment dropped by 9,000 last week. Still, Wall Street is worried that consumers will stay cautious. Consumer spending is one of the biggest factors that can drive an economy, so any pullback could really be felt.
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