WASHINGTON (AFP) - US central bank chief Ben Bernanke called on political leaders to do more to boost jobs and the housing market, saying the Federal Reserve could do little at this time to support economic growth. In a speech much-awaited for news of new stimulus moves, Bernanke offered no hints that the Fed would adjust monetary policy to give the near-stagnant economy a shot of adrenalin. Instead, he pushed the ball back to the government and fiscal policy, while adding a warning that politicians should not reprise their months-long political battle over spending and debt which he said could seriously jeopardize future growth. In the short term, putting people back to work reduces the hardships inflicted by difficult economic times and helps ensure that our economy is producing at its full potential rather than leaving productive resources fallow, Bernanke said in prepared remarks for a meeting of central bankers in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Notwithstanding this observation... most of the economic policies that support robust economic growth in the long run are outside the province of the central bank. At the same time, Bernanke said the Fed did have policy tools to help out and would be reviewing them at an expanded meeting of the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) policy board on September 20-21. The Fed is prepared to employ its tools as appropriate to promote a stronger economic recovery in a context of price stability, he said. Bernanke said he expected growth in the second half of the year to improve after a first half in which expansion was nearly stagnant, at a rate of less than one percent. But, against deep hopes in markets that he would at least hint that the Federal Reserve would adjust monetary policies to add some fuel to the economy, he stressed that the work would have to be done by politicians using admittedly tightly constrained budgetary resources. Although the issue of fiscal sustainability must urgently be addressed, fiscal policymakers should not, as a consequence, disregard the fragility of the current economic recovery, he said. Some analysts and investors had hoped that, with worries that the economy was sinking into recession, Bernanke might repeat what he did in a speech at the same venue almost exactly a year ago. At that time, with the economic recovery also appearing stalled, he signaled that the Fed would move to ease monetary conditions, in what became the QE2 quantitative easing program, which injected $600 billion into the economy via Treasury bond purchases. That move sent markets into a nine-month bull run, but ultimately failed to generate a self-sustaining recovery. While not offering up a QE3, on Friday Bernanke suggested he was more confident that growth was resuming, after a second-quarter expansion estimated at just 1.0 percent. He did not repeat the sober description of the FOMC of August 9 when it forecast growth at a somewhat slower pace over the coming quarters than it had earlier estimated, and warned of increasing downside risks to the economic outlook. Analysts said Bernankes speech had mainly served to put off expectations for another three weeks, giving time to see what economic data shows about growth. Bernanke affirmed that policy is not made on the hoof at Jackson Hole but at the FOMC, by adding to the importance of the September meeting, that will now be a two-day meeting discussing alternative tools, said economist Alan Ruskin of Deutsche Bank .