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.