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The U.S. economy is hitting its stride and gaining traction. That summarized comments by Fed Officials as Chairman Bernanke testified to the Senate Budget Committee on Friday.

"We have seen increased evidence that a self-sustaining recovery in consumer and business spending may be taking hold," said the Chairman.

Other Fed officials quickly echoed his tone. Fed Board Governor Elizabeth Duke said in a separate speech that the recovery appeared to be revving up. "I am encouraged by signs that the recovery may have gained traction recently," Duke said.

Chicago Fed President Charles Evans -- a big proponent of keeping monetary accommodation in place -- also reported, "More recent data have been coming in somewhat stronger."

Although the recovery still is not as strong as many officials would like, the majority now point evidence of slow to moderate economic improvement in their districts. In fact, just recently several districts have introduced "stress indexes" to quantify the severity of economic shocks along with the associated rebound from such episodes. The measures are based on 11 financial market variables, each of which captures one or more key features of financial stress.

Current readouts were recently release for the Kansas City and St. Louis Districts. Both show stress indexes that have now returned to historically "normal" levels.

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Source: Bernanke and Fed: Recovery Gaining Traction