(CNN) - President Barack Obama outlined a grim picture for economic recovery, saying in an interview to air Sunday night that it could take years for the nation to reverse what he called structural problems "that have been building for two decades."
"That's going to take time. That's going to take more than a year," Obama tells "60 Minutes" on CBS. "It's going to take more than two years. It's going to take more than one term. It probably takes more than one president."
With continued high unemployment and sluggish economic growth, Obama is widely expected to face a stiff reelection battle in 2012.
And while the unemployment number for November dropped to 8.6%, the lowest since March 2009, the labor market has added less than a third of the 8.8 million jobs lost during the recession. About 13.3 million people remain unemployed, with 43% of them having been out of work for more than six months.
Republican presidential candidates often point to a statement Obama made soon after he took office in 2009, in which he said he expected his administration to steer the country out of the problem by the end of his first term.
"I will be held accountable. I've got four years," Obama said in a TV interview. "A year from now I think people will see that we're starting to make some progress, but there's still going to be some pain out there. If I don't have this done in three years, then there's going to be a one-term proposition."
Asked by CBS this week if he overpromised during his 2008 campaign and at the start of his presidency, Obama said he always expected the bumpy road.
"I didn't overpromise, and I didn't underestimate how tough this was going to be," he said. "I always believed that this was a long-term project. This wasn't a short-term project. And, you know, for individual Americans who are struggling right now, they have every reason to be impatient."