Bernanke speech may offer clues to Fed's next step

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Associated Press

Posted on August 31, 2012 at 6:01 AM

Updated Friday, Aug 31 at 6:02 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Investors will be focused today on a speech by Chairman Ben Bernanke at a Federal Reserve conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo., but few expect him to signal that the Fed is about to take major new action to boost the economy.

Three years after the end of the Great Recession, the U.S. economy is still struggling to break out of a slog that's kept unemployment at a painfully high 8.3 percent.

After its last policy meeting, the Fed repeated a pledge to try to boost growth if hiring remains weak. And minutes of that meeting showed that some Fed officials felt the economy would need more support "fairly soon" unless it improved significantly.

Still, many analysts think slightly brighter economic news since then has diminished the need for the Fed to act soon.

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