Testifying before Congress’ Joint Economic Committee, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on April 14 that he is cautiously optimistic that the moderate economic recovery will continue, although the job market may sputter in the coming months.
Bernanke also urged lawmakers to recommend further budget cuts to help minimize the record federal deficit and help improve the nation’s long-term economic health, the Associated Press (AP) reports.
"Addressing the country’s fiscal problems will require difficult choices, but postponing them will only make them more difficult," he warned the committee.
The Fed chairman pointed to several signs of economic improvement, including the 1.6 percent increase in retail sales in March and the minimal inflation boost during that time. Bernanke also reiterated his pledge to keep interest rates low for an "extended period" to support the recovery.
During the meeting, Bernanke admitted to some mistakes regarding the Fed’s unclear role concerning consumer protection, The Economic Times reports.
"I can understand why some advocates would want to have a purely independent agency," he said. "While we have acknowledged being late on these issues, I do believe we should receive some credit forr a much better performance in recent years."