In remarks before the Senate Budget Committee, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said that the rate of economic recovery will be moderately stronger in 2011 than it was in 2010. Bernanke said there is evidence that a self-sustaining recovery in consumer and business spending is taking hold and, though the pace of recovery hasn’t been enough to significantly improve conditions in the labor market, job openings and hiring plans have looked stronger in recent months. Bernanke also addressed weakness in the housing sector, saying that the overhang of vacant houses has weighed heavily on home prices and construction. More here and here.