Janet Yellen, Federal Reserve chair, told the Joint Economic Committee this morning that she is optimistic about the economy generally, but added that a slowdown in housing bears watching.

 

The housing sector came on strong last year, helping to fuel economic recovery, but it has not matched economists' predictions for it so far in 2014, CNNMoney reported.

 

Yellen added that the Fed will continue to ease its economic stimulus efforts of buying bonds and is keeping its short-term interest rate near zero, but she was vague about when it might begin to increase interest rates.

 

Yellen emphasized that she believes the economy still requires a strong dose of stimulus five years after the recession officially ended because unemployment and inflation still are well short of the Fed's goals, Bloomberg reported.

 

"While conditions in the labor market have improved appreciably, they are still far from satisfactory," Yellen said. She said the national unemployment rate, which stood at 6.3 percent in April, still is elevated, and she noted that the share of the labor force that has been unemployed for more than six months  the number of people working part time who would prefer full-time work "are at historically high levels."