While Fed action won't instantly fix the economy, it helps speed recovery and is "the best course" toward the Fed's dual mandate, Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco President and CEO John Williams said Friday.

"The steps the Fed has taken to boost the economy won't quickly return our economy to full strength. I know that," he told Salt Lake City community leaders according to prepared text released by the Fed. "But they can help speed the recovery and make it more secure.  I'm convinced they represent the best course to move us toward maximum employment and price stability."

And, he added, "we're falling short of both of our goals, especially the maximum employment mandate."

Calling being in the fourth year of economic recovery "a significant accomplishment," Williams said recent gains in housing and car sales are "encouraging signs." But, he noted, "As welcome as this progress is, the recovery has lacked the spark of past rebounds. That's not surprising when you consider what we went through in 2007 and 2008."

Still, the European crisis, budget challenges and uncertainty about the economy continue to restrain expansion, Williams said. "All three factors are legacies of the financial crisis and recession, which devastated public-sector budgets at home and abroad, and fueled economic anxiety."

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