The White House said Friday that new economic data that showed continued, albeit slow, growth in the U.S. economy was a positive sign but cautioned that more growth was needed.
Alan Krueger, chairman of President Barack Obama's council of economic advisors, noted that the report, which showed gross domestic product growth slowing to 1.5 percent in the second quarter from 2 percent in the first, marked a full 12 quarters of positive economic growth.
"Over the last three years, the economy has expanded by 6.7 percent overall, and the private components of GDP have grown by 9.9 percent," Krueger said in a blog post on the White House Web site.
He added, "While the economy continues to move in the right direction, additional growth is needed to replace the jobs lost in the deep recession that began at the end of 2007."
Krueger also sought to highlight revisions of data going back to 2009 that showed higher levels of state and local government spending than initially reported.
Those revisions, Krueger said, highlight the fact that Obama's economic stimulus program, known as the Recovery Act, had helped soften the worst effects of the economic slowdown, though that is also a source of possible concern.
"Since the Recovery Act funds have been phasing out, however, declining State and local government activity has subtracted from GDP," Krueger said.
He added, "Indeed, today's report indicates that State and local government purchases have declined for 11 straight quarters, the longest streak ever recorded since the official record of quarterly data began in 1947."
Obama, Krueger said, has already put forward to Congress a number of measures that would bolster the potentially flagging recovery.
"To strengthen economic growth and increase job creation, President Obama has proposed to Congress a plan that would help State and local governments retain and hire teachers and first responders, assist the construction sector and economy of tomorrow by rebuilding and modernizing our Nation's infrastructure, and would give small businesses tax cuts to encourage them to increase payroll," Krueger said.
Krueger also urged the House to move on the Senate-passed measure to extend Bush-era tax cuts for Americans making less than $250,000 per year.
"President Obama has said that as soon as the House will act he will sign it right away in order to give certainty and security to middle class families," he said. "Extending these tax cuts would provide more certainty for the economy for 98% of American families and 97% of small business owners."
by RTT Staff Writer
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