The global recession appears to be ending, and while it was the most severe financial crisis since the Great Depression, "the outcome could have been decidedly worse," Federal Reserve Board chairman Ben S. Bernanke said today at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City's Annual Economic Symposium, in Jackson Hole, Wy.
Bernanke hailed "aggressive and complementary" monetary, fiscal, and financial policies around the globe for preventing a complete global financial meltdown. "Without these speedy and forceful actions, last October's panic would likely have continued to intensify, more major financial firms would have failed, and the entire global financial system would have been at serious risk," Bernanke said, according to prepared text of his speech, which was released by the Fed.
"Fears of financial collapse have receded substantially," he said. "After contracting sharply over the past year, economic activity appears to be leveling out, both in the United States and abroad, and the prospects for a return to growth in the near term appear good. Notwithstanding this noteworthy progress, critical challenges remain."