WASHINGTON – Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says he is surprised by how cautious consumers have been in the two years since the recession officially ended. But the Fed chief offered no hints of any steps the Fed would take to boost the weak economy.
Bernanke says a number of factors are keeping consumers from spending more, including high unemployment, a temporary spike in energy prices, falling home prices and high debt burdens.
Bernanke said the Fed will consider range of policy options at its next meeting later this month without offering any clues to what it might do. His comments were familiar to ones he gave last month in Jackson Hole, Wyo.