Bernanke: Expect 3 to 4% growth in U.S. economy in 2011

By Eliza

Jan 13, 2011 3:00pm

ABC News’ Arlette Saenz reports: Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke said the economy will see a three to four percent growth in 2011, but it will not hasten the reduction in unemployment.

“We see the economy strengthening. It’s looked better in the past few months,” Bernanke said.  “We think a 3 to 4 percent growth number for 2011 seems reasonable.”

“That’s not going to reduce unemployment at the pace that we’d like it to, but certainly, it’d be good to see the economy growing and that means more sales, more business.”

Bernanke’s comments came at a small business forum where he discussed topics ranging from the availability of credit to small businesses to the need for prudent banking.

“We got in trouble in the first place by making too many bad loans, right. So you’ve got to make good loans.  We’ve got to have credit worthy borrowers.”

In regards to the housing market, Bernanke said it would be a slow and steady process to restore stability to the residential mortgage market.

“It’s not going to happen overnight.  The economy’s got to come back.  Confidence has to come back, but we can do that by putting in the effort.” 

Bernanke was joined at the small business forum by Chairman of the FDIC Sheila Bair, Sen. Mark Warner and Tom Bell, chairman of the board of directors at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Warner argued that deficit reduction is on the forefront of legislators’ minds this session and touted the plan he and Sen. Saxby Chambliss are organizing, which would incorporate recommendations from the president’s deficit commission.

“I think we also have to longer term put in place a meaningful deficit reduction plan,” Warner said.  “It’s put up or shut up time, and I think we will have a broad base of  senators, Democrats and Republicans alike, who say the single largest threat, long term threat to our national economy, is not simply the short term challenges we face right now, or the financial crisis, but getting our nation’s balance sheet in order.”

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