March 16th, 2010
11:51 AM ET

Obama officials: 9.7% jobless rate 'unacceptable'

Obama administration officials urged lawmakers Tuesday to support the president's budget, saying it will drive job growth.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, White House Director of the Office of Management and Budget Peter Orszag and Council of Economic Advisers Chairwoman Christina Romer testified before the House Appropriations committee on the administration's economic outlook and agenda.

In a joint written statement, the officials said that although the stimulus package has helped turn around the economy from when "the threat of a second Great Depression was frighteningly real," the 9.7% unemployment rate is  "unacceptable by any metric."

An economic forecast produced by the officials' three offices estimates that the labor market will add 100,000 jobs per month in 2010. However, they said the unemployment rate may still rise slightly over the next few months.

The trio added that jobs will grow by 200,000 a month in 2011, bringing the unemployment rate down to 8.9%. In 2012, payrolls will improve by 250,000 jobs each month, pushing the jobless rate down to 7.9% by the fourth quarter.

In the near term, they expect to see job gains by the spring based on consistent increases in temporary employment and employers expanding the workweek. Productivity growth has also surged at the fastest pace in nearly 50 years during the last three quarters, and the officials expect more hiring to keep pace.

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soundoff (3 Responses)
  1. Spence

    Now that I know the 9.7% jobless rate is unacceptable to the Obama camp all will be well again here in Phoenix, Arizona. Do you ever feel like we're treated like mushrooms?

    March 16, 2010 at 2:27 pm | Report abuse |
  2. John L Mendez

    As a Christian, I Pray for the Obama Administration to learn the meaning of being "Honest" with the US public, in light of their recent assessment that the 9.7% unemployment rate is "unacceptable by any metric." Truth is the real unemployment rate is actually 17% and growing. Let's see Obama be "Honest" about that fact. In Jesus' name, Amen.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Randy Riches

    I fully expect Repub's to now chime in and trash Obamas team for making this statement.... The problem in the US is too much blue and red and not enough collective problem solving. Do the parties really even matter anymore? I fail to see why people would throw all of their support behind a political leader just because of the party he represents... People should think for themselves and form their own opinions, forget about whether or not it lines up with your 'partys' view.

    March 16, 2010 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |