Gene Sperling: Jobs news good, but not nearly good enough
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Steve Chiotakis: The nation’s economy created 103,000 jobs in September, which is more than analysts were expecting. But the unemployment rate overall stayed the same — at 9.1 percent. The reaction so far has been pretty positive because there were upward revisions to July and August numbers as well.
Gene Sperling is director of the Obama administration’s National Economic Council. And he’s with us now from the White House. Good morning, sir.
Gene Sperling: Good morning.
Chiotakis: Good news, right?
Sperling: Well, it’s better than expected, but it’s not nearly good enough. When you have 9.1 percent unemployment, when you are digging out from the worst financial recession since the Great Depression, you have to have stronger growth than this to get the type of job creation that we need to start lower unemployment. So, we’re happy it’s better than projected, but not nearly satisfied. No one should be.
Chiotakis: Not nearly satisfied — but, you know, it seems like we can’t get to that cusp, you know? Where economists say it’s gonna take 200,000, 250,000 jobs a month to lower the unemployment rate. Why?
Sperling: This is what’s most important. The president has proposed the American Jobs Act. Independent forecasters — like Moody’s, for example — have projected that if nothing happens, there will only be about 42,000 jobs a month created next year. If the American Jobs Act is passed, they project there’ll be 200,000 jobs a month.
So, we have a plan that independent forecasters are projecting could add up to 2 percent growth, and up to 1.9 million more jobs next year. That could make a dramatic difference — to not only take out insurance against a double-dip recession, but help get this economy the momentum it needs to start lower unemployment.
Chiotakis: I know the administration, sir, has said if Congressional Republicans don’t pass the president’s jobs plan, that the country’s going to fall back into recession. And Republicans say they’re not going to do it — they’re not going to pass it. So what happens?
Sperling: It’s not the administration saying that, what you’re hearing is from top independent forecasters who have no politics saying that if nothing is done we could see growth below 2 percent —
Chiotakis: Well, the vice president said that we were going to go —
Sperling: We could see unemployment — all of them project unemployment to stay over 9 percent. And the real question for those who oppose the president’s American Jobs Act is: where’s your plan? What plan do they have that these top independent forecasters would project to create one to two million more jobs next year; to create up to 2 percent more growth next year. If they oppose the American Jobs Act, and don’t have their own alternative, then their message to the American people is: things are good enough.
Chiotakis: We’re going to have to wrap it up —
Sperling: To say it’s not in our hands — that’s not what the president thinks. The president thinks we need bold action and he’s put forward a plan that has broad bipartisan support across the country.
Chiotakis: Thank you sir, thank you very much for joining us.
Sperling: Thank you.
Chiotakis: We appreciate it. Gene Sperling at the White House.
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