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'Self-Sustaining Recovery' In Spending Is Taking Hold, Fed's Bernanke Says

File photo: Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke; Nov. 23, 2010. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images hide caption

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Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

"The economic recovery that began a year and a half ago is continuing" and there is "increased evidence that a self-sustaining recovery in consumer and business spending may be taking hold," Federal Reserve Board Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress this morning.

But, as we saw in this morning's employment report, "conditions in the labor market have improved only modestly at best," Bernanke said.

The Fed chairman went on to say that it could be 2016 before the job market is recovered:

"The projections submitted by Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) participants in November showed that, notwithstanding forecasts of increased growth in 2011 and 2012, most participants expected the unemployment rate to be close to 8 percent two years from now. At this rate of improvement, it could take four to five more years for the job market to normalize fully."