Federal reserve chief: recession ‘very likely over’

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Tuesday the recession is “very likely over at this point,” but it won’t be sufficient to prevent the unemployment rate from rising.

Currently at a 26-year high of 9.7 percent, unemployment is expected to hit 10 percent by the end of this year and keep rising to around 10.3 percent next spring.

Analysts worry that without consistent consumer spending growth, the recovery could weaken next year, as government stimulus efforts end.

The nation’s gross domestic product, the broadest measure of the economy’s output, fell 5.5 percent in last year’s fourth quarter and the first three months of this year, the worst six-month showing in nearly 50 years.