WASHINGTON (TheStreet) -- Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said Tuesday that the U.S. economy has emerged from recession.

Still, that's in a technical sense -- and even though the economy is probably now expanding, unemployment will most likely continue to rise.

Bernanke's comments weren't controversial. Economists believe that third-quarter U.S. gross domestic product will grow by 3% to 4%, the first positive period since the 1.5% increase posted in the second quarter of 2008.

"The recession is very likely over at this point," Bernanke said in a question-and-answer session at the Brookings Institute think tank in Washington, after delivering the same speech he gave at a Fed meeting in Jackson Hole, Wyo., last month.

Bernanke also provided the same set of qualifications: namely, tight credit and the dangers this poses to what many believe will be a fragile recovery period.

U.S. stocks, meanwhile, were trading sluggishly Tuesday after the release of mixed economic data:

wholesale prices

that touched off inflation worries, and

retail sales figures

that showed relatively strong consumer spending in August.

-- Written by Scott Eden in New York

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