Bernanke Sees Economy Stabilizing

But not going to improve quickly
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2009 11:11 AM CDT
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is escorted by Joint Economic Committee Chairwoman Carolyn Maloney and ranking member Sam Brownback at the start of a hearing on Capitol Hill, May 5, 2009.   (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
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(Newser) – It looks like the economy is stabilizing, Ben Bernanke told the congressional Joint Economic Committee today, but recovery won’t be quick, and there are still “sizable job losses” on the horizon. “We continue to expect economic activity to bottom out, then to turn up later this year,” he said. “Even after recovery gets under way," he said, "real economic activity is likely to remain below its longer-run potential for a while.”

Warning or no warning, this was the Fed chief’s most optimistic assessment since the start of the crisis, the New York Times reports. Bernanke pointed to the first quarter’s consumer spending growth and “fairly stable” existing home sales as portents of a turnaround. He said credit markets were showing signs of life, with homeowners jumping to refinance their mortgages.