Associated Press - March 15, 2009 8:23 PM ET
WASHINGTON (AP) - Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says America's recession "probably" will end this year if the government succeeds in bolstering the banking system.
Appearing on CBS' "60 Minutes," Bernanke seemed to express a bit more optimism this could be done.
Still, Bernanke stresses the prospects for the recession ending this year and a recovery taking root next year hinge on a difficult task: getting banks to lend more freely again and getting the financial markets to work more normally.
Bernanke says "We've seen some progress in the financial markets, absolutely." But he adds "until we get that stabilized and working normally, we're not going to see recovery."
He says the government is working on a plan that he thinks will stabilize the financial system.
But Bernanke says even if the recession ends this year, the unemployment rate will keep climbing past the current 8.1%.