Incoming Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen sees stronger growth this year
Janet Yellen is sworn in for her confirmation hearing of the Senate Banking (AFP)

Incoming US Federal Reserve chief Janet Yellen said in an interview published Thursday that she sees the US economy picking up in 2014.

"I think we'll see stronger growth this year. Most of my colleagues on the Fed's policymaking committee and I are hopeful that the first digit (of GDP growth) could be 3 rather than 2," she told Time magazine.

Yellen, who will become the first woman to chair the Fed when she takes over from Ben Bernanke on February 1, told Time that the recovery of the economy from the 2008-2009 recession has been "frustratingly slow".

"But we're making progress in getting people back to work, and I anticipate that inflation will move back toward our longer-run goal of 2 percent."

The Fed, where Yellen has served as vice chair since 2010, has been frustrated with the economy's weak response to its huge stimulus efforts. Last month the Federal Open Market Committee forecast growth for 2013 at 2.2-2.3 percent, picking up to 2.8-3.2 percent this year.

Yellen rejected Fed critics' accusations that its stimulus, which over the past year has included injecting $85 billion a month into the economy via bond purchases, has only helped people investing in stocks and property.

"A lot of people say this is just helping rich people. But it's not true," she told Time.

Our policy is aimed at holding down long-term interest rates, which supports the recovery by encouraging spending."

That in turn spurs job creation and higher incomes, she said.