The Fed cut its growth estimate for 2011 to between 3.1 percent and 3.3 percent from a January forecast of 3.4 percent to 3.9 percent.
The Fed also raised its estimate of inflation this year to a range of 2.1 percent to 2.8 percent, taking into account a recent surge in oil prices. However, it bumped its core inflation forecasts only marginally to a 1.3 percent to 1.6 percent range.
As for unemployment, it lowered its forecast but said it would stay elevated over its three-year forecast period. For 2011, the Fed said it expects the unemployment rate to land in a 8.4-8.7 percent range, better than a range of 8.8-9.0 percent forecast in January.
"The markdown of growth in 2011, in particular, reflects the somewhat slower than anticipated pace of growth in the first quarter," Bernanke said in prepared remarks before he took reporter questions. (read more)