Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said today that the US economic recovery "is close to faltering" and that the central bank is prepared to take further steps to support it. (That potential action apparently pleased investors: The Dow came off the day's lows, fell a bit, then rebounded furiously to close up 153.) Bernanke told the congressional Joint Economic Committee that the economy is growing more slowly than the Federal Reserve had expected. The biggest factor depressing consumer confidence is poor job growth, he added.
"We need to make sure that the recovery continues and doesn't drop back and that the unemployment rate continues to fall downward," Bernanke said. He also wasn't shy in offering Congress more advice: He reiterated his warning that lawmakers should not cut spending sharply while the economy is weak. The central bank's next policy meeting is scheduled for Nov. 1-2.