The Federal Reserve is aware of "the depth of the problem and the need for action" and that "that the burdens of a weak economy and the benefits of economic growth often are not equally shared," Federal Reserve Bank Chairman Ben S. Bernanke said Thursday.

Noting that times are "difficult for many Americans and their communities" Bernanke told an Atlanta Operation HOPE audience that "policymakers must take into account how their decisions affect the least advantaged, not just the economy as a whole."

Unemployment, which remains "stubbornly high," concerns the Fed, Bernanke said, according to text of prepared remarks released by the Fed. "We have taken strong actions throughout the financial crisis and recovery to help stabilize the economy. In September, we took the added step of stating that we will continue actions to put downward pressure on longer-term interest rates until the outlook for the job market improves substantially in a context of price stability. Our hope is that our statement provides individuals, families, businesses, and financial markets greater confidence about the Federal Reserve's commitment to promoting a sustainable recovery with price stability and that, as a result, they will become more willing to invest, hire and spend."

Bernanke pledge the Fed's support for housing, "both through our monetary policy and our regulatory and supervisory actions. But, as I have discussed, not all of the responsibility lies with the government; households, the financial services industry, and those in the nonprofit sector must play their part as well."

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