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(New  York Times) — The chairman of the Federal Reserve urged banks and regulators on Monday to help the nation’s small businesses get the loans they needed to create jobs. He also acknowledged that economists could not agree on why such lending has contracted substantially over the last two years. Small businesses — those having fewer than 500 employees — employ half of all Americans and account for about 60 percent of gross job creation. Federal data indicate that lending to such companies fell to below $670 billion in the first quarter of this year from more than $710 billion in the second quarter of 2008.

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