WASHINGTON - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says the U.S. can't fully recover from the worst recession in decades until hiring improves.
Bernanke says the economy is strengthening, and will likely grow at a faster pace this year as more confident consumers and companies spend more, in prepared remarks to the National Press Club. But he warns that the growth still won't be strong enough to quickly drive down high unemployment, and it could take several years before it returns to more normal levels.
He says: "Until we see a sustained period of stronger job creation, we cannot consider the recovery to be truly established."
His remarks suggest the Fed will stick with its program to prime the economy by purchasing $600 billion of Treasury bonds by the end of June.