Fed chairman more optimistic, sees growth

WASHINGTON — U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke gave his most optimistic prediction yet Tuesday about the end of the recession, saying he expects the economy to start growing again this year — although the comeback could be weak and more jobs will disappear even after a recovery takes hold.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke testifies before the Joint Economic Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington

WASHINGTON — U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke gave his most optimistic prediction yet Tuesday about the end of the recession, saying he expects the economy to start growing again this year — although the comeback could be weak and more jobs will disappear even after a recovery takes hold.

The Fed chief told Congress’ joint economic committee that he saw hopeful signs, including firmer home sales, a revival in consumer spending and some improvement in lending conditions for banks, businesses and individual borrowers.

“We continue to expect economic activity to bottom out, then to turn up later this year,” Bernanke said.

Previously, Bernanke has suggested the recession could end this year if the government managed to stabilize the financial markets. This time, he said not only that he expects an end to the recession this year end but also a return to growth.

For that to happen, he said, the banking system must stabilize.

“A relapse in financial conditions would be a significant drag on economic activity and could cause the incipient recovery to stall,” Bernanke said.

Barring such a setback, Bernanke suggested the worst of the recession — for lost economic activity — has passed. Economists say the recession started in December 2007, then hit with force in the fall of last year when the financial crisis intensified.

He suggested that even in a recovery, economic activity would probably still be below normal.

Among signs cited by Bernanke that the recession may be loosening its grip: The housing market has shown some signs of bottoming, and consumer spending, which collapsed in the second half of last year, came back to life in the first quarter.

Just Posted

Despite warnings, plenty of temptations to thieves left in vehicles

Lock It or Lose It campaign still finding plenty of valuables left in plain sight

WATCH: Notley invites central Albertans to “team up” with New Democrats for equitable, prosperous future

NDP leader lashes out against her rival, Jason Kenney, calling him a cheater

Red Deer sees highest rate of fentanyl deaths

47 fentanyl-related deaths in 2018

Why Solar: Canada needs to get its collective house in order

Canada needs to get a grip. The country has one of the… Continue reading

Gardening: Take care when making plant purchases

After a cold February, the longer sunny days and warmer weather triggers… Continue reading

Canadian pair fifth after short program at figure skating worlds

SAITAMA, Japan — Canada’s Kirsten Moore-Towers and Michael Marinaro are fifth after… Continue reading

Director Kim Nguyen tackles financial ‘madness’ in ‘The Hummingbird Project’

TORONTO — As Quebec filmmaker Kim Nguyen tells it, “The Hummingbird Project”… Continue reading

What Disney gets as its $71.3B buy of Fox assets closes

It’s finally complete. Disney closed its $71 billion acquisition of Fox’s entertainment… Continue reading

Opinion: Let’s be heard ‘loud and clear’ during provincial election campaign

By David Marsden During the banquet for Sunday’s Boston Bruins alumni game,… Continue reading

Documentary on Colten Boushie case to open Toronto’s Hot Docs festival

TORONTO — A film examining the case of a young Indigenous man… Continue reading

Most Read