BOTTOM LINE: Federal Reserve Chairman says the United States can't fully recover from the worst recession in decades until hiring improves.
LONG JOURNEY AHEAD: Bernanke says it will take "several years" before unemployment, now at 9.4 percent, drops to historically normal levels closer to 6 percent. The economy still needs support from the Fed's $600 billion bond-purchase program.
GLIMMERS OF HOPE: The economy is strengthening, and will grow faster this year. Consumers are spending more. And, the pace of layoffs has slowed. That should prompt companies to hire more this year, Bernanke says.