Victory in the Persian Gulf war has removed much of the uncertainty hampering the U.S. economy in recent months, but other problems, such as the credit crunch, remain serious threats to the nation's economic health, Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Green-span said Wednesday.

Still, the Fed chairman told the House Ways and Means Committee that rising consumer confidence and other positive forces are at work to keep the recession relatively mild.Under questioning, Greenspan told the panel the economy is still edging downward but the forecast continues to call for recovery.

"I think the return is going to occur in a reasonably short time," Greenspan said, noting that consumer confidence is expected to come back, albeit slowly."