In the United States, economic growth remains sluggish, unemployment shows no signs of dropping significantly in the near term, the housing market remains week and oil prices have spiked. Despite this, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke has remained confident that the Fed's quantitative easing strategy can continue to spur economic recovery in the United States. Still, even Bernanke, in a speech to the Senate Banking Committee last month, said that "it could be several years before the unemployment rate has returned to a more normal level." Since the country has only regained around one million of the near nine million jobs it lost following the financial crisis, it would be hard to come to any other conclusion. But there may be some good news coming soon for the insurance industry. Over the next year, 44% of insurance companies expect to add staff, according to the most recent "Insurance Labor Market Study" conducted by the Ward Group and Jacobson Group. Conversely, only 13% expect staff decreases. Furthermore, nearly one-fourth (23%) of the companies that plan to hire employees cited the fact that they were currently understaffed while almost a third (30%) credited business expansion, and more than one-fourth (26%) need more staff to handle expected volume increases.