WASHINGTON - The Federal Reserve predicts unemployment in the United States will stay high over the next two years because recession-scarred Americans are likely to stay cautious - making for only a moderate-paced economic recovery.
The central bank's policymakers say it will take "some time" for the U.S. economy and the jobs market to get back to normal.
And, a minority of them think it could take more than five or six years for that to happen.
Previously, Fed policymakers suggested economic conditions would return to full health within five or six years.
In updated economic projections, the Fed says the U.S. unemployment rate this year could hover between 9.5 per cent and 9.7 per cent.
Next year, U.S. unemployment is expected to drop to between 8.2 per cent and 8.5 per cent. By 2012, the jobless rate will range between 6.6 per cent and 7.5 per cent.