Bernanke proposes no new steps to boost economy

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JACKSON HOLE, Wyo. (AP) ? Chairman Ben Bernanke is proposing no new steps by the Federal Reserve to boost the economy while hinting that Congress may need to act to stimulate hiring and growth.

Bernanke says that while record-low interest rates will promote growth over time, the weak economy requires further help in the short run.

The Fed chairman is speaking at an annual economic conference in Jackson Hole, Wyo.

His speech follows news that the economy grew at an annual rate of just 1 percent this spring and 0.7 percent for the first six months of the year. Only slightly healthier expansion is foreseen for the second half.

Bernanke says he’s optimistic that the job market and the economy will return to full health in the long run.