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U.S. economy to fare better in coming quarters: Bernanke

U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday predicted that the U.S. economy will fare better in coming quarters supported by easing fiscal policy headwind, a recovering housing market and ongoing monetary policy stimulus.

"The combination of financial healing, greater balance in the housing market, less fiscal restraint, and, of course, continued monetary policy accommodation bodes well for U.S. economic growth in coming quarters," he said at the Annual Meeting of the American Economic Association held in Philadelphia, the U.S. state of Pennsylvania.

The U.S. economy has made "considerable progress" since the recovery officially began some four and a half years ago, said Bernanke, whose terms ends on 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. The banking system has been recapitalized, and the financial system is safer," according to his prepared speech.

The nation's unemployment rate edged down to 7 percent in November, its lowest level in five years, figures from the Labor Department showed.

"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," Bernanke added.

[Source: Xinhua, Washington, 03Jan14]

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