Bernanke Beams Optimism on Economy at Morehouse Address

Fed chair says boosting confidence key in rebounding

Chieoke Moore, 21, a junior business major at Morehouse who has a summer internship in PricewaterhouseCoopers’ tax accounting department, believes the panel covered a wide range of topics and that Bernanke answered the responses thoroughly.

Cheryl Allen, dean of the division of business and economics at Morehouse, says Bernanke gave a “great presentation,” adding that as a college professor, she tries to help her students realize benefits from this current financial situation.

“Our students are in the position to come in and be a part of the solution. Even though it’s gloomy, there’s a silver lining,” she says.

Najee Johnson, 20, a junior economics major who will spend his summer working on the campaign of an Atlanta City Council hopeful, also was pleased with the presentation, especially the issues surrounding federal student loan programs. “These are the types of things we need to know because we will be out in the real world,” Johnson says.

Echoing Bernanke’s acknowledgement that t his year’s college students are facing the toughest labor market in 25 years, Keith Hollingsworth, chair of the Morehouse Business Department, says, “For the student who’s about to graduate, its tough economic times. Getting a job is not as easy as it was in the past.”

As a result, a lot of Morehouse students, like Tristan J. Allen, are opting to go to graduate school, Hollingsworth observes, explaining that in the past, 20 to 30 Morehouse students graduating with business and economic degrees were headed to Wall Street to work.  With graduation only a few weeks away, that number has dropped down to 10, he says.  Although Moore and Johnson have lined up paid internship opportunities, many of their classmates haven’t been as fortunate, with the number of students receiving internships for business and economic majors declining as well.

But Hollingsworth is optimistic the economy will turnaround. “My guess is the end of next year.”

Bernanke was appointed Fed chairman in February 2006 and served as chairman of the President’s Council of Economic Advisers from 2005 to 2006.

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