Are Continued Low Interest Rates Boosting the Economic Recovery?

The Fed is maintaining its policies, but the effects on the job market may be minimal.

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Perhaps recognizing the limits of central bank actions, Ben Bernanke has in the past urged lawmakers to take fiscal action on improving the economic outlook. But given constant gridlock on Capitol Hill, the passage of jobs legislation is rare.

[See why businesses are optimistic about wages, hiring.]

Looking forward, the Fed seems primed to hold the line in hopes of boosting jobs. But the limited toolbox of monetary policy can simply make for limited results.

"When all you have is a hammer, every problem starts to look like a nail," says Adolfo Laurenti, deputy chief economist at Mesirow Financial. "Every problem starts to look like it can be fixed by monetary policy. That is not the case. There are some limits to what monetary policy can do."

Danielle Kurtzleben is a business and economics reporter for U.S. News & World Report. Connect with her on Twitter at @titonka or via e-mail at

UPDATE: This piece was updated on 4/25 to reflect the Federal Open Market Committee's updated economic projections, as well as Ben Bernanke's 4/25 press conference remarks.