US economy to fare better in coming quarters: Bernanke

Washington, Jan 4 (IANS) US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke predicted that the US economy will fare better in coming quarters.

He was addressing the annual meeting of the American Economic Association held in Philadelphia, the US state of Pennsylvania, Xinhua reported Friday.
He said: “The combination of financial healing, greater balance in the housing market, less fiscal restraint, and, of course, continued monetary policy accommodation bodes well for US economic growth in coming quarters.”
The US economy has made “considerable progress” since the recovery officially began some four and a half years ago, said Bernanke, whose terms ends Jan 31.
“The unemployment rate has fallen from 10 percent in the fall of 2009 to 7 percent recently. Industrial production and equipment investment have matched or exceeded pre-recession peaks,” Bernanke said.
“The banking system has been recapitalized, and the financial system is safer,” according to his prepared speech,” he added.
The nation’s unemployment rate edged down to 7 percent in November, its lowest level in five years, figures from the Labor Department showed.
Bernanke said: “Despite this progress, the recovery clearly remains incomplete. At 7 percent, the unemployment rate still is elevated.”
“The number of long-term unemployed remains unusually high, and other measures of labor underutilization, such as the number of people who are working part time for economic reasons, have improved less than the unemployment rate,” he added.