Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke's not the most beloved man in America (just ask Occupy types, Tea Partiers, and Ron Paul supporters), and his comments today at the Senate Budget Committee's hearing probably won't improve his popularity any time soon. "The 8.3 percent [unemployment rate] no doubt understates the weakness of the labor market in some broad sense," Bloomberg's Craig Torres and Josh Zumbrun quote Bernanke saying Tuesday. He may just be stating the facts, but that's a bummer for Barack Obama who needs a bullish labor market to help his keep his approval rating on the rise.
Then again, any economist worth his weight in gold (sorry, couldn't resist) would also say that the unemployment rate can be misleading. Bernanke also said, "It is very important to look not just at the unemployment rate, which reflects only people who are actively seeking work … There are also a lot of people who are either out of the labor force because they don’t think they can find work."
That 8.3 percent unemployment rate was announced four days ago: Can't we just enjoy some good news for a full week, Ben? Then again, maybe Bernanke's real talk is just a way to remind Wall Street that they shouldn't get greedy just because the economy's turning around more quickly than expected.