April 4th, 2010
01:21 PM ET
13 years ago

Summers on jobs: 'We've got a long way to go'

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/04/art.2summers0404.cnn.jpg caption="'We’ve got a long way to go,' Obama economic adviser Lawrence Summers said Sunday. But Summers also said 'The trend has turned.'"]
Washington (CNN) – One of President Obama’s top economic advisers suggested Sunday that the economy still has a ways to go to turn around a bleak unemployment situation. At the same time, Lawrence Summers suggested that the White House’s efforts were being stymied by Republican opposition on Capitol Hill.

Watch: Summers on jobs

The economy gained 162,000 jobs in March, the Labor Department announced Friday. But even with that growth – which constituted the best monthly jobs report in three years – the national unemployment rate held steady at 9.7 percent.

Related on CNNMoney.com: March jobs report shows growth

“We’ve got a long way to go,” Lawrence Summers, Director of the White House National Economic Council, said on CNN’s State of the Union. “We’ve inherited a terrible situation, the most pressing economic problems since the Great Depression in our country. It is the president’s preoccupation to put people back to work.”

While acknowledging that the economic outlook is not where the White House would like it to be, Summers pointed out that the economy is doing better now than it was this time last year in terms of job growth, exports, and availability of credit.

“The trend has turned,” Summers told CNN Senior Political Correspondent Candy Crowley, “but to get back to the surface, we’ve got a long way to go and that’s what we’re fighting to do every day.”

In order to try to bring the unemployment rate down, Summers said the administration is taking five steps: (1) continuing to implement the approximately $800 billion stimulus package passed soon after President Obama took office, (2) implementing new measures including tax credits intended to encourage businesses to hire the unemployed, (3) additional support to protect workers in state and local government like teachers and firemen, (4) providing incentives for small businesses to expand, and (5) providing incentives to create “the new energy economy” that includes a focus on energy efficiency and renewable sources of energy.

Asked why the administration did not seem to be pointing to any new proposals intended to battle unemployment, Summers suggested that some of the White House’s economic agenda was being held hostage by Republicans in Congress.

“It is unacceptable,” he said of the 9.7 percent national unemployment rate. “And we’ve put forth a whole set of proposals on which - the opposition in Congress has not allowed them to pass.” Summers pointed out that many of the economic proposals favored by the White House have already been passed by the House but not yet by the Senate.

“We are not complacent. We are not standing still. We are fighting to implement the programs that have already been legislated, to actually legislate the other programs that have been put forward, and to put forward new proposals,” he said.

Asked specifically whether the White House thought congressional Republicans were responsible for holding up job growth, Summers replied that there are important steps that would help with unemployment that are waiting on action by Congress.

“I can tell you that the majority of Congress is ready to go on those pieces of legislation,” he said.

Filed under: Economy • Larry Summers • Popular Posts • State of the Union
soundoff (44 Responses)
  1. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    The lying republicans have never put the country above their own self interests. The GOP is fortunate that their base is not very bright.

    April 4, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  2. john

    Its apparent that Obama has surrounded himself with mindless idiots when it comes to doing anything about the economy or for that matter anything else.

    April 4, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  3. 160,000 Americans filed for bankruptcy.....

    in March, the highest number since they began keeping records, and 30,000 higher than the previous high.

    Still think Obama knows what he's doing?

    April 4, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  4. Tom, Bradenton,FL

    We have a long way to go until all jobs have been outsourced to India, China or Mexico so be patient jobs are coming.

    April 4, 2010 11:43 am at 11:43 am |
  5. CEE

    The Republicans have the nerve to talk about job growth, when they are sending jobs to China at a record pace. When it comes to greed there's nothing like slave labor.

    April 4, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Mamanomia

    The problem isn't entirely the economy or lack of jobs..it is that many do not want the jobs that are available...They rest on their "over qualifications" and will not consider other positions available...There are quite a few firms hiring in our city...many with well paying jobs..other's entry level...but, it is work, pays a salary and increases the employment statistics...At some point we need to monitor this closely...unemployment benefits have led to some laziness in the job search.

    April 4, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. katiec

    The republicans are first to point their fingers, with no credible ideas of their own, and continue to obstruct any plan to improve our country.
    They have never admitted or acknowledged their part in our destruction , and, maintain their unAmerican, irresponsible goals of destroying our president, supporting big business, party first and win at any cost. They are sacrificing us and our country for their personal gains, quest for power, losing all sight of what they were elected to do.
    They are well on their way to becoming our country's most dangerous domestic terrorists.

    April 4, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  8. William Simpson

    Hey republicans; Lead, Follow, or get out of the way.

    April 4, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. Josh

    A lot of american people have for gotten where we came from over the last year. We were on brink of a depression people were losing their jobs by 800,000 per month. I myself is unemployeed but I see light at the end of the tunnel. We must ask ourselves who got us into this mess, and how long did it take for us to get into this mess. It took years to get us to where our economy is and it will take morer than one year to get us out of this mess. We also must ask ourselves who is trying to help us get out of this mess and who are not putting forth any effort to help. The party of no will rather see our country go under than try and help solve the problems that got us here. They keep saying wait until November but our country can not wait, they need to get off their backsides and help with america's problems.

    April 4, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. Sue

    There is NOTHING impressive about 162,000 jobs created in March--48,000 of those jobs temporary census/government jobs--when the unemployment rate has been 9.7% – 10% since the stimulus bill passed over one year ago.

    MANY economists have said..........In order for the unemployment rate to get back down below 8%--–250,000 jobs PER MONTH-–will need to be created over the next 5 years!!!!

    April 4, 2010 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  11. Darrell

    As the old saying goes, Roman was not built in a day. It took a long time to get to this point and jobs are now being created. It will take more time to create the number of jobs there were lost that started under the GWB admn. and as result of republican policies. The federal govt. is doing the best that it can...now it is up to the private sector start doing more to hire back the employees that they laid off. Warning Obama haters: If the Republicans gain seats in the House/Senate, they still cannot do anything to create more jobs...remember: their policies are one that got us into this mess. Why would we want to repeated failed policies?

    April 4, 2010 11:54 am at 11:54 am |
  12. cspurgeon

    I agree with Summers. In my opinion the Republicans are working for a political agenda and not our country. It is disgusting and I belierve American people will see thru it.

    April 4, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    Go it alone, Americans can't be held back by Republicans while they party at strip clubs.

    April 4, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  14. Chris

    If we were able to match the best monthly job growth rate from the last decade, and somehow sustain that for an entire year straight – we still could not even begin to make a noticeable dent in the unemployment figures. That is the brutal truth.

    When the the market collapsed, 1 in 10 lost their jobs, There are still tens of millions of people out of work. There is absolutely no way to create that many job openings in a short time. We faced the worst economic catastrophe of our lifetimes, and recovery will be a slow and painful process. No one is going to be able to change that. Not a Republican, not a Democrat, not Santa Claus – No one. And the more people who honestly and realistically deal with the situation, instead of just hurling epithets and accusations at each other, the better it is for all.

    April 4, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  15. Charles W. Skinner

    The economic agenda of the President is being opposed by the Republicans in the House because they understand true economics, unlike the the individuals the President has surrounded himself with. The President's team of Keynesians and their proposals will drive this country to ruin, just like Roosevelt's team did in the 30s and 40s.

    Keynesian economics stalls a recovery by putting money toward "make-work" projects that have no true lasting benefit, or by flooding the market by doing all infrastructure improvements at once, and then causing all infrastructure construction companies to have to compete for new projects, creating unemployment when the competition drives down costs later.

    It's all moot anyway. It's not the REPUBLICANS that are blocking the agenda. Its the CONSERVATIVES that are blocking it. And I, for one, say BRAVO to them for doing so, and look forward to a Conservative controlled Congress come January of 2011 as backlash for the Socialist Liberal policies that have been foisted upon us

    April 4, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  16. rob

    News flash Mr. Summers, you dems have large majorities in both houses. You need to look at your own party for answers on the congress not passing stuff.

    The only thing thats non-partisan in the Congress is opposition to most of your Administration's agenda.

    April 4, 2010 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  17. Fed Up

    It seems too simplistic to be true but nonetheless, the number of jobs increase, when the Dems are in control of the White House and Congress and when the Reps are in control jobs are lost, but corporate profits increase.

    Reps are good for the short term, but Dems are better for the long term.

    Which would you rather have?

    April 4, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  18. addon

    Its so hard to understand how the loudest idiots can't read statistical information. How do this pea brains look at the job numbers and not see the best jobs number in three (3) years as a good thing?

    Our great President has only been in office for one year. That means 2 of the years were under the last president. If we were losing jobs at a rate of 700k each month, during the last administration, its a good thing to show and increase now – right? This means americans are losing jobs and some are finding jobs.

    I wish there weren't so many idiots that listen and believe the lies. And then go out at the tea parties to disparage the efforts of our POTUS to get us back on the track from the crash and burn the re-unthunklicans policies.

    April 4, 2010 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  19. notfooledtx

    Yep, there's a long way to go, but this is a start. A good start, the most jobs added since 2007.

    Face it folks, this country has done a horrible job preparing for a global economy. Many of the jobs that have been lost won't be coming back. We as a nation are poorly prepared for global competition. It's time to take the long view – as I believe this president is doing. It won't be fast, and it won't be welcome by some, but the status quo just won't suffice any longer. Education reform is a necessary step. The country has to change it's trajectory – standing still won't cut it.

    We're heading in the right direction. We didn't get here overnight, and it will take more than 15 months to turn us around, but it's a good start.

    April 4, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  20. addon

    I honestly think republicans count of people (their supporters) not being able to read, add or simply being too dumb to see the facts.

    Under Republican policies, americans losing more than 700k per month (2007 – 2008). Under Obama/Democrat policies, we are about even with some modest gains. Isn't that better?

    Why do Republicans hate the fact that americans are actually getting jobs under our current president? Why should we want to reinstate Republican policies ? We want the country to go back into the ditch? Hasn't it been bad enough? I just don't understand stupidity

    April 4, 2010 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  21. Peter

    What is the administration doing about returning offshore jobs from India? Recent press has it that India companies are salivating with the new health care reform.

    Also, why does the government need to be situated in the D.C.beltway region? We have the infrastructure for all the heartland to share in the jobs that "beltway bandits" have held for centuries. That would create jobs in the heartland.

    Our leaders are looking at the same old tired solutions that either won't work or won't work fast enough instead of doing the above.

    We need change not the same ole same ole!!!

    April 4, 2010 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. Jazzy

    My memory is extremely CLEAR! I know who made the mess this country is working its way out of. I have no delusions. President Obama is making progress with the horrible hand he was given/inherirted. Unfortunately we live in a fickle and at times hateful society.

    April 4, 2010 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
  23. SanantonioSlim

    Still blaming Bush!! Time to grow up Obama adinistration. You wanted the job - about time you tried doing it instead of continually making excuses.

    If the democrat majority in the senate is ready to go on those pieces of legislation why don't they? They have the significant majority as was demonstrated in their passage of the dreadful health thing.

    April 4, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  24. Save America, impeach the treasonous republicans

    I wonder how that "Country First" thing is going for the right wingnuts and the obstructionist republicans in congress.

    April 4, 2010 12:34 pm at 12:34 pm |
  25. Common Sense Guy

    Too busy ramming healthcare through. Too bad their bad bill doesn't do what was intended and is now being shown to be worse than nothing at all

    April 4, 2010 12:39 pm at 12:39 pm |
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