The head of the United States central bank says the recession is probably over but the economy will remain weak and it will take time to create jobs.
Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said in a speech to a Washington think tank that, from a technical perspective, the recession is "very likely over", and the consensus is the economy is growing.
However, the general view of most forecasters is that the pace of growth next year will be moderate, he said, which would delay job creation.
Mr Bernanke also said that he felt "quite confident" that Congress would approve comprehensive reform of US financial regulation, the BBC reports.
The Obama administration is trying to push through regulations designed to prevent another financial crisis.