The U.S. economy will recover slowly and the unemployment rate will take some time to come down, Atlanta Federal Reserve Bank President Dennis Lockhart said on Wednesday.

This should keep inflation at bay for the foreseeable future, and allow the central bank to keep interest rates on hold for some time, he said.

I fully support the message of the most recent (policy) statement to the effect that the fed funds target rate will remain exceptionally low for an extended period, Lockhart said in remarks to the Harvard Club.

The Fed slashed interest rates near zero and undertook an array of emergency measures to grapple with the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression.

While some lawmakers have blamed the Fed's regulatory oversight for allowing the financial sector's troubles to fester, the central bank says it should keep supervisory authority.

Lockhart reiterated that message.

Removing the central bank from a supervision role designed to provide totally current, firsthand knowledge and information will weaken defenses against recurrence of financial instability, he said.

(Reporting by Pedro Nicolaci da Costa, Editing by Chizu Nomiyama)