[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/19/art.orszagwall0719.cnn.jpg caption="White House Budget Director Peter Orszag said Sunday that unemployment will lag behind the rest of the economy once the economy begins to turn around."]
WASHINGTON (CNN) – White House Budget Direct Peter Orszag said Sunday that the struggling economy has backed away from the precipice it was teetering on late last year but a return to economic growth has not occurred yet.
“Where we are is the sense of free fall that we had back in December . . . we’ve stepped back from that precipice but we’re not yet in the growth zone,” Orszag said on CNN’s State of the Union. “Most private sector forecasters are suggesting that won’t happen till later this year.”
Orszag also said Sunday that unemployment – now approaching 10 percent nationally – could take some time to turn around.
“Unemployment will lag somewhat,” Orszag told CNN Chief National Correspondent John King, as the economy begins to turn around later this year.
“Firms - usually even after the economy begins to pick up again – they still remain reluctant to hire people for some period of time. So, the unemployment rate is going to remain elevated – too elevated and there are too many people who are suffering – for some period of time.”
“It’s going to take some time to work our way out of it,” Orszag also said.