Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Monday that he is cautiously optimistic that the United States will not fall back into a "double dip" recession.
During a dinner sponsored by the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, Bernanke said that consumer spending and private sector investments should allow the economy to continue to moderately improve, according to Market Watch.
"We’ve seen consumers coming back," he said. "We’ve seen firms spending more. There are some signs the private sector is picking up the baton and moving the economy forward."
However, Bernanke also noted that the banking sector is "not completely healthy" and that the level of economic growth is not strong enough to put a dent in the elevated national unemployment rate, which now stands at 9.7 percent.
The Fed chairman also encouraged Congress to put together a long-term debt reduction plan to help the nation evade another economic crisis.
When asked about the possibility of increasing interest rates, Bernanke responded vaguely, stating that it will happen sometime "in the future."
Meanwhile, the National Inflation Association said last week that the Fed’s handling of the economy is bound to result in skyrocketing inflation, and that Bernanke’s expectations of a "very stable" U.S. dollar are off the mark.
"It’s mind-boggling to us how the mainstream media could believe anything Bernanke says about inflation after how wrong he has been about everything else," said the organization. "We are 100 percent sure that Bernanke will be proven wrong again."