US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Thursday that the country's unemployment situation "remains a grave concern."
"Fewer than half of the eight million jobs lost in the recession have been restored and at 8.1 percent, the unemployment rate is nearly unchanged since the beginning of the year and is well above normal levels," Bernanke said in a press conference.
"The weak job market should concern every American. High unemployment imposes hardship on millions of people and it entails a tremendous waste of human skills and talents."
Bernanke was speaking after the Fed cut its growth projections for 2012 and announced fresh monetary easing efforts aimed at pushing down long-term interest rates to encourage investment and hiring.