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 isÂ "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.