Fed chairman says U.S. recovery not far off - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Fed chairman says U.S. recovery not far off

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke
WASHINGTON. - Could the economy be showing signs of a turnaround?

Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke seems to think so.

Bernanke spoke to a joint congressional committee Tuesday and while he said the pain is not over he thinks the economy may be on the road to recovery.

"We continue to expect economic activity to bottom out, then to turn up later this year," said the fed chair.

Appearing before the Joint Economic Committee, Bernanke pointed to signs of life in the sector that started it all the housing market, but the glimmers of hope came with a caution.

Bernanke warned that tough times could still be ahead- especially in the job market

"The number of new and continuing claims for unemployment insurance through late April suggests that we are likely to see further sizable job losses and increased unemployment in coming months," Bernanke said.

As for the bank stress tests due out on Thursday, Bernanke couldn't give a preview of how the nation's 19 biggest banks would fare.

Some say they expect the stress tests to show at least ten need more government help.

On banks, Bernanke seemed optimistic as well.

"Our hope is that this program will on one hand provide a lot of information to the markets and restore some confidence in the banks," he said.

Confidence may be building in more than just banks.

"I think we're in far better shape than in September-October," said Bernanke.

Amid signs that things may, slowly, be looking up.

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