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Bernanke optimistic on long-term economic growth
Bernanke says he thinks US growth will return to normal rate of around 3 percent
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke says he thinks the U.S. economy will return to its long-term growth of around 3 percent a year despite the weaknesses it still faces.

Bernanke made his observation in his fourth and final lecture to George Washington University students. The lectures this month have been intended to both demystify the Fed and defend the steps it took to confront the 2008 financial crisis and the Great Recession.

The Fed chairman showed the students a chart illustrating that annual U.S. economic growth over the past century has been about 3 percent. Since the recession ended in 2009, the economy has averaged about 2.5 percent growth.

Bernanke didn't say when he thought the U.S. economy would return to its normal growth rate.

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