U.S. Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on Monday the shell-shocked U.S. economy has improved, but cautioned that the recovery remains fragile and the jobless rate may remain elevated for some time.

We still have some ways to go before we can be assured that the recovery will be self-sustaining, he told the Economic Club of Washington.

Also at issue is whether the recovery will create the large number of jobs that will be needed to materially bring down the unemployment rate, he said.

(Reporting by Mark Felsenthal; editing by Jeffrey Benkoe)