December 13th, 2009
12:02 PM ET
10 months ago

Summers: Economy's turning around, job growth will take time

Washington (CNN) – A top economic adviser to the White House said Sunday that the economy is beginning to show signs of a turnaround but cautioned that it could be some time before the unemployment situation begins to improve.

“It will take time,” for the national unemployment rate to drop, Lawrence Summers, the Director of the National Economic Council, said Sunday on CNN’s State of the Union.

“A year ago, the question was: would we have a depression? Today, everyone agrees that the recession is over and the questions are around how fast we’ll recover.”

Summers explained that economic recoveries typically begin with growth in gross domestic product. “We’ve seen that start to happen,” Summers told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, adding that the economy then begins to create jobs on a net basis. “Most professional forecasters expect job growth by spring and I think that’s a reasonable judgment in an uncertain world,” Summers told King.

The former treasury secretary added that even once the economy begins to create jobs, it takes time to reduce the national unemployment rate “because when you start to create jobs, more and more people start looking for work because they’re encouraged.”

“But on the key measure” of job creation, Summers said, “we’re a lot closer than we were a year ago and the signs that are the first signs that things are turning . . . we’re now seeing progress.”

But, Summers quickly added that more needed to be done to improve the jobs outlook as the national unemployment rate sat at 10 percent.

Early indications of an economic turnaround were “not nearly enough, not nearly enough.”

“We’ve got to do a lot more,” Summers said Sunday, adding that “there’s no more important issue facing the country than job growth.”

Summers also told King that the administration’s $787 billion stimulus package will continue to play a role in the economic turnaround.

“The number of projects under the program… is going to be about twice as great over the next six months as it was over the last six months,” Summers said.

soundoff (23 Responses)
  1. joe smith

    right on..for once someone has the balls to level the greedy, money hungry, dual citizenship bankers, ( don't forget the traders), who collectively have destroyed our economy..keep up the retoric mr summers..maybe Cnn will print responces that show agreement..

    December 13, 2009 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  2. Corey

    You best hurry. November is less than a year away. If Bumbles and his party don't want to face extinction, they best have the unemployment WAY down.

    December 13, 2009 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  3. Sam Sixpack

    Oh, everything is all better now, too bad you don't have a job. What a crock.

    December 13, 2009 12:35 pm at 12:35 pm |
  4. Lynda/Minnesota

    Surely not good news for the GOP.

    December 13, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  5. Marry

    Hey, Corey, glad that you still have the strength to complain. However, if McPalin where in power, depression soup lines would be ALL over the place. So be happy… someone is there that does a superb job under the “GOP NO – NO – NO” attitude. Or can you think of anything better? Thought so…..

    December 13, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  6. Debby

    When the stock market starts booming again then I will believe the economy is coming out of a slump.

    December 13, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. S Callahan Third week of Advent...light you candle for JOY

    Let's pray this is so.....and it is good to be optimistic....with a balance of the scales. Recovery in the Spring is still a longgggggggggg way off...in the meantime many many people are hurting.

    December 13, 2009 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  8. Bob of Lompoc

    Of course the Economy is turning around. Bush left it with no where to go but up. What a mess he left behind. I hope the American People have learned from the eight Bush years that Republicans do not know how to handle a large, diverse nation, how to self discipline the use of such a powerfull military, what to do when the worst of all Hurricaines destroys a large American City - oh hell, you all, know that already.

    BTW, where is the former Republican favorite "Huck" these days? That's the problem when you do something stupid like he did, and destroy your own poilitical career. It leaves a gap in the public speaking space, and dimwits like this South Dakota Senator fill in the spot, and bore most of us to death. Give it to him Congressman Grayson. Give it to him!

    December 13, 2009 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  9. Death Panel Sarah

    To Corey and Sam Sixpack....
    Everything IS better than it was in January. Housing starts are up, job loss is way down, the banks(and GM) are repaying the bailout loans, and most economists say the 'worst' is over.
    They also say the jobs will return later as a natural delay to the recovery.
    This recession was supposed to last well over a year, but we recovered in 9 months(better than predicted)!
    Why do you hate America so much that you want the 'bad times' to linger on??

    December 13, 2009 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  10. OK Larry.......

    but 38% of black men are unemployed........happy with that????

    December 13, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  11. beginning to show signs of a turnaround but cautioned that it could be some time

    Corey said "November is less than a year away"

    If the GOP picks up more seats, this country has no memory at all

    I hope that my fellow country men and women have more sense than to put the GOP back in charge of anything

    what a mess Bush/Cheney left, it will take some time to fix their debacle

    December 13, 2009 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  12. German,Irish American

    The fact that anyone listens to Summers, who has been wrong on 80% of his economic predictions dating back to the Reagan years, shows how intellectually inept this administration is on the economy. Whatever gains the economy has made is in spite of, not because of, Obama and his failed stimulus package. It is called capitalism. The promised "unemployment rate below 8% with the stimulus," has now changed to "we are doing a good job and the recession is over because unemployment will not go above 11.5% if we spend another 250 billion of the unused TARP funds." Wait until they pass "healthcare reform," of which 70% of Americans disapprove, cap and trade, in spite of proof of cooking the books and lying about warming, along with the 1.1 trillion spending bill which gives all federal agencies and employees a 12.5% raise. The ramifications of this corrupt spending by Obama will be felt for decades.

    December 13, 2009 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  13. Monster Zero

    Give me a break, the Obama Administration sees creating Government jobs as the answer to unemployment. Expansion of government so they make our citizens fully dependent upon them to fund the continuation of their elitist lifestyles. Every move these liberals have made in DC has resulted in thwarting small business expansion. Health care legislation, Cap n Tax, Bank bail outs, etc., etc. Just wait till Obama gets the tax receipts report for this year, it will be off to the printing press again...

    December 13, 2009 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  14. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Good news for a majority of Americans and bad news for the Republicans who haven't done one thing to help. I say stick it to them.

    December 13, 2009 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  15. Linda

    Reminder, Bill Clinton created over 21 million jobs, not only got rid of the deifict, but gave us a huge surpllus.

    Governor and Party name experience does not get transfered to newbie that studies giving speeches from long time radical Rev Wright.

    Best description I've seen of Obama was a chicago reporter who said "Obama is a cynic and a liar. Having spent about an hour alone with the man, I also think he's very shallow, a rank hustler."

    We said Obama afer Bush would cripple us and all the partisan talking points and push polling won't change that.

    December 13, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  16. mary

    why don't you complainers just shut up.
    everybody is quick to judge and blame other party but nobody wants to work together and get this country back on track.
    As for unemployment I know a lot of people that are collecting and not even looking because they feel it's owed to them.
    I have a small business and you would think we would have people braking doors down applying for jobs. Not a one!
    So don't tell me how bad things are.
    Also people don't want to work for less wages. They are looking for jobs to pay them the same as they were making.
    Everybody has to contribute and get us out of this mess.

    December 13, 2009 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  17. Nikos Retsos

    In our corporate based capitalist economy, the economists are more
    clowns than priests. And since 50% of our economy is based on
    "buying" psychology on one side, and on Wall Street's buccaneer investors who jump in, get whatever profit they can get, and get out on
    the other side. In short, our economy is still on a "Wild West" mode, with a lot of hit-and-run measures that don't seem to work, and milked to the last drop by the two war hogs of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Worse yet, Obama has decided to fatten the Afghan hog, and that
    means a galactic black hole in Central Asia that will siphon billions from our domestic economy for years to come. It won't, therefore, be easy for the economy to recover when we siphon billions from it domestically and drop them half way around the planet – not to mention that we owe the Chinese $ 700 billions in our bonds on top of our deficit. Then, there is a large percentage of Americans who have lost their homes, have exhausted their savings, probably are in debt to relatives and friends to survive, and they are unemployed. Those people don't buy anything more than food, and the economy won't improve easily when a sizable part of the population is stuck at the subsistence level.

    Lawrence Summers, therefore, is pandering to the suffering Americans, and practically clowning up for his boss, Baraq Obama. Americans who really want their situation to improve economically had better start planning the ditching of Obama on 2012. The reason? We have had enough of clowning, and it is time to start looking for a priest in the next election. The only alternative is to sit idle, rot, and tighten our belts through 2016, while hundreds of thousands of military contractors become instant millionaires in Afghanistan. Nikos Retsos, retired professor

    December 13, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  18. Linda

    When will you young people realize that they give nothing but empty words. Their actions never match their rhetoric. Didn't you hear all this when it was 8pct unemployment...then again when it was 9pct unemployment.

    The picture for the long term future is sucko, so they're trying to push you to buy in now. If they don't offer you a false sense of security now, when this is supposed to be the b i g g e s t time of the year for sales, they are really screwed.

    December 13, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  19. Bev

    We will NOT see an improvement of the economy/unemployment rate until Obama and the Democrats lose power/control.

    –What business is going to hire now-when the Bush tax cuts are about to expire, and they do not know what their taxes will be??

    -What business is going to hire now-when they do not know what the health care disaster is going to cost them-they don't even know if they will be able to stay in business.

    -What business is going to hire now--when they do not know what the Cap and Tax Energy Bill is going to cost them-they might not even be able to stay in business.

    -What business is going to hire now-when they are now being "punished" for making a profit.

    We will see an immediate improvement of the economy/unemployment rate-–as soon as the power/control is taken away from Obama and the Democrats through the 2010 elections!!

    December 13, 2009 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  20. Michigan Patriot

    He must be on drugs or something......Does he really think its getting better? Go around this country and see all the people with no jobs, the ones Obama promised.... Remember he was going to be the Saviour, and fix it all? What a joke and a disgrace is to have these people running the country..........

    December 13, 2009 03:14 pm at 3:14 pm |
  21. Peter s

    With God everything is possible!! the economy will grow and the naysayers! will be a shamed!! did I say ashamed? I think I'm nuts we live in shameless culture!. You destroy the economy today tomorrow you will blame someone else!!

    December 13, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  22. Mike

    The government will prop up the job number with census takers, but those are temporary jobs. While the unemployed will gladly take any work, government jobs do not help, but only sink the boat faster. The jobs that boost the economy are private sector jobs with manufacturing jobs at the top of the scale. What employer is going to enthuiastically hire when the government is ready to slam employers with a health care bill and cap and trade legislation uncertainty? Kill both and hiring will soar.

    December 13, 2009 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  23. Gerry NH

    I watched this interview this morning. Larry Summers talked like he was very tired or he was on something. The interview made no sense.

    December 13, 2009 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |