Washington (AP) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that the worst recession since the 1930s is probably over.
Bernanke said the economy likely is growing now, but it won't be sufficient to prevent the unemployment rate, now at a 26-year high of 9.7 percent, from rising.
"The recession is very likely over at this point," Bernanke said in responding to questions at the Brookings Institution.
The Fed boss also said he is confident that Congress will enact a revamp of the nation's financial rule book to prevent a future crisis from happening.
"I feel quite confident that a comprehensive reform will be forthcoming," Bernanke said. It has been "too big a calamity" over the past year, with the near meltdown of the U.S. financial system, for Congress not to take action, he added.
President Barack Obama on Monday urged Congress to enact legislation this year.
Bernanke's speech to at Brookings was identical to the one he delivered last month at a Fed conference in Wyoming. Analysts predict the economy is growing in the current quarter, which ends Sept. 30, at an annual rate of 3 to 4 percent. It contracted at a 1 percent pace in the second quarter.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that the worst recession since the 1930s is probably over.