Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Wednesday that a fall in the unemployment rate would not automatically trigger a rise in interest rates. He spoke to the media after the central bank issued a policy update. Susan Walsh/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Susan Walsh/AP

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke during his Capitol Hill testimony Wednesday before the Joint Economic Committee. Alex Wong/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Alex Wong/Getty Images

The Federal Reserve's headquarters in Washington, D.C. What goes on inside there is of intense interest to investors. Karen Bleier /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

itoggle caption Karen Bleier /AFP/Getty Images

Shoppers at a Target store in Westbury, N.Y., last week. Consumer spending drives the economy. And the holiday shopping season is crucial for retailers. Shannon Stapleton /Reuters /Landov hide caption

itoggle caption Shannon Stapleton /Reuters /Landov

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke talks to educators Aug. 7 in Washington, D.C. At their most recent meeting, many Fed members backed action to boost the economy. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP