Economic indicators show the U.S. economy moving toward recovery, but may not tell of struggles many face, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday.
"Even though some key aggregate metrics -- including consumer spending, disposable income, household net worth, and debt service payments -- have moved in the direction of recovery, it is clear that many individuals and households continue to struggle with difficult economic and financial conditions," Bernanke, via prerecorded video, told the 32nd General Conference of the International Association for Research in Income and Wealth in Cambridge, Mass.
Because focusing on aggregate numbers likely could paint an incomplete picture, Bernanke said one implication is "we should increase the attention paid to microeconomic data, which better capture the diversity of experience across households and firms."
Another possibility, he said, was seeking out "better and more-direct measurements of economic well-being, the ultimate objective of our policy decisions."
Measurement of well-being is an important direction, but only one of many new directions for economic measurement being explored, Bernanke said.
"I am glad to see scholars and practitioners continuing to push the frontiers of economic measurement with a broad perspective and with open minds," he told participants.
"[Good] economic analysis and policy-making depend on good measurement, and the work you are doing will accordingly yield significant benefits."