News

    Central Bank Says US Economy Expanding 'Moderately'

    Women and girls carry purchases on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif., April 24, 2012.
    Women and girls carry purchases on the Third Street Promenade in Santa Monica, Calif., April 24, 2012.

    The U.S. central bank says the American economy is growing "moderately" and that the country's high unemployment rate could fall below 8 percent late this year.

    After a two-day meeting of its chief policy makers in Washington, the Federal Reserve refrained Wednesday from adopting new stimulus measures to boost the economic fortunes for the world's largest economy. The bank said it expects that economic growth will "remain moderate" over the coming months and then "pick up gradually."

    The central bank said it is keeping its benchmark lending rate at the historically low level of zero to a quarter of a percentage point, and it expects to maintain the same interest rate at least through late 2014.

    The bank said the country's labor market has improved, even though the jobless rate, 8.2 percent in March, remains high. But Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said at a news conference that policy makers now think that as the economy improves, the jobless rate could fall to a range of 7.8 to 8 percent late this year and improve even more in the next two years.

    "Looking ahead, the committee anticipates the unemployment rate will decline gradually over the next several years, reflecting the moderate pace of economic growth. Specifically, [the policy makers'] projections for the unemployment rate in the fourth quarter of this year have a central tendency of 7.8 to 8 percent, declining to 6.7 to 7.4 percent in the fourth quarter of 2014," said Bernanke.

    Bernanke also said that if the U.S. economy should falter, the Federal Reserve will not hesitate to take new action to boost it, as it has the last couple years.

    "So we have been very accommodative. And we remain prepared to do more as needed to make sure that this recovery continues and that inflation stays close to target. So in particular, we'll continue to assess, you know looking at the economic outlook, looking at the risks, whether or not unemployment is making sufficient progress towards its longer-run, normal level and whether inflation is remaining close to target," said Bernanke. "And if appropriate, and depending also on assessment of the costs and risks of additional policy action, we remain entirely prepared to take additional balancing actions if necessary to achieve our objectives."

    Bernanke said consumer spending and business investment have grown, but the bank described the country's housing market as "depressed."

    The central bank said that overall inflation expectations "have remained stable," at about 2 percent, and that increased energy costs will have only a temporary effect.

    In recent weeks, there have been mixed signals about the American economy, with some pointing to modest growth and better times, and others emphasizing how sluggish the recovery has been from the recession that engulfed the country in 2008 and 2009.

    Nearly 13 million American workers remain unemployed, with many of them jobless for extended periods. The jobless rate has fallen in recent months, but is considerably above the 5 percent level that is more normal in the U.S.

    Still, many U.S. corporations have reported sharply higher profits. The world's most valuable company, U.S.-based technology giant Apple, said Tuesday its quarterly profits almost doubled during the first three months of the year. This was attributed largely to continued demand for the company's popular iPhones.  

    The state of the U.S. economy is the prime issue in the presidential election campaign, heading to the November contest.

    The presumptive Republican nominee, one-time venture capitalist Mitt Romney, has called for less government regulation and lower taxes to sharply boost the economy. He said that President Barack Obama, a Democrat, deserves no credit for recent gains in the economy and that any advances have occurred despite, not because of, his policies.

    Obama frequently has told supporters that the economy is improving, although not as fast as he would like. He has noted that the country's businesses have filled more than 600,000 new jobs since the first of the year. He says the country cannot afford to weaken government controls designed to curb corporate excesses that contributed to the economic downturn, the worst in the United States in seven decades.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.