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Fed watching data given mixed signals: Bernanke

Fed watching data given mixed signals: Bernanke (by Greg Robb)

WASHINGTON (MarketWatch) - The recent improvement in the unemployment rate has put the Federal Reserve on alert and watching incoming data closely, said Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke on Wednesday."It will be especially important to evaluate incoming information to assess the underlying pace of economic recovery," in light of the "somewhat different signals" received recently from the labor market than from indicators of final demand, Bernanke said in testimony prepared for the House Financial Services Committee.In his testimony, Bernanke stopped short of saying the improvement in the unemployment rate meant a better economy ahead. The unemployment rate dropped to 8.3% in January after hovering close to 9% for much of 2011.