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Fed chief sees long road back to economic health

Aug 2, 2010 12:39:00 PM - thestate.com
The nation faces a long road to get back to good economic health, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Monday.

Bernanke said progress is being made after the deepest recession since the 1930s. The worst of the financial crisis is behind the nation and the economy is growing again, he pointed out.

"But we have a considerable way to go to achieve a full recovery in our economy, and many Americans are still grappling with unemployment, foreclosure and lost savings," the Fed chief said in a speech to an annual meeting of Southern lawmakers in Charleston, S.C.

It marks Bernanke's first public comments since the government report released Friday showed the recovery lost a lot of momentum in the spring. The economy grew at a pace of just 2.4 percent in the April-to-June quarter, down from 3.7 percent growth at the start of the year. It was the slowest showing in nearly a year and is too weak to drive down near double-digit unemployment.

The bulk of Bernanke's speech was about challenges facing cash-hungry state and local governments. Facing budget shortfalls, state and local governments have been cutting their spending and laying off workers to save money.