Obama says growth a sign of stimulus success
By Scott Wilson
President Obama warned in his weekly radio and Internet address Saturday that the U.S. economy is likely to shed more jobs in the coming days, but said the recent quarter of growth marked an important turning point in the country's recovery from deep recession.
He called his prediction that unemployment would rise, despite news this week that the gross-domestic product grew 3.5 percent in the most recent quarter, "a fact that is both troubling for our economy and heartbreaking for the men and women who suddenly find themselves out of work."
"But we will not create the jobs we need unless the economy is growing," Obama said. "That's why this GDP report is a good sign."
The positive GDP numbers marked the first quarter of growth in a year, but Obama and his senior advisers continue to worry about a so-called jobless recovery heading into next year's election season.
The unemployment rate may soon rise above 10 percent, a threshold that could dim the prospects of the president's Democratic Party in the 2010 mid-term Congressional elections if the economy doesn't improve.
Obama spoke after a second straight week of decline in the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Government data released Friday also showed that consumer spending fell in September from the previous month by less than one percent, a sign many Americans are still uncertain which direction the economy is heading.
But Obama used his address to say that the $787 billion stimulus measure he pushed through in February is driving the economic recovery. He said the bill, a mix of public spending and tax cuts, has "created and saved more than one million jobs."
Republicans have challenged that figure, and fiscal watchdog groups have said it is very difficult to estimate how many jobs would have been lost without the boost in public spending.
"As I've said many times, it took years to dig our way into the crisis we've faced," Obama said. "It will take more than a few months to dig our way out. But make no mistake: that's exactly what we will do."
Posted at 6:00 AM ET on Oct 31, 2009
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