Testifying before the Joint Economic Committee, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said the country's economic contraction appears to be slowing. Bernanke's outlook was much more optimistic than the one he gave lawmakers in February, although he said recovery could be hindered by some factors. "We expect that the recovery will only gradually gain momentum and that economic slack will diminish slowly," Bernanke said. "In particular, businesses are likely to be cautious about hiring, implying that the unemployment rate could remain high for a time, even after economic growth resumes."

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