Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke says the United States economy is continuing to recover, but that growth is bumpy and modest.
In an update to Congress on the health of the US economyon Wednesday, Mr Bernanke said that the decline in unemployment had been more rapid than expected.
For much of last year, the jobless rate was stuck around 9%, but it started dropping at the end of last year and hit 8.3% in January.
However, the BBC reports Mr Bernanke said the labour market "remains far from normal".
''The unemployment rate remains elevated, long-term unemployment is still near record levels and the number of persons working part-time for economic reasons is very high,'' he said.