- The Washington Times - Friday, August 7, 2009

President Obama expressed measured optimism Friday about the economic recovery, following news about the unexpected dip last month in unemployment.

“We’re seeing additional signs the worst may be behind us,” Mr. Obama said from the White House, just hours after word that the July unemployment rate was 9.4 percent — 0.1 percent lower in the previous month. “Today we are pointed in the right direction.”

Still, the president cautioned that a “true recovery” cannot occur until the economy begins to grow again and businesses hire.

He also used the event to repeat his message that signs of recovery do not mean a return to “failed policies of the past.”

“Maxed out credit cards … will not create jobs,” said Mr. Obama, using a variation of his repeated warning.

He said the administration’s plan continues to focus on renewable energy, better educating tomorrow’s work force and providing tax and financial relief through the $787 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

“We have a steep mountain to climb and we started in a very deep valley,” Mr. Obama said. “But I have faith in the American people, in their capacity for hard work and innovation. … I’m convinced we can see a light at the end of the tunnel.”

The drop in unemployment appeared to surprise even the administration, which until late Thursday was preparing Americans for more job losses and the rate climbing toward 10 percent.

“I expect we’ll see several hundred thousand jobs lost,” White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said. “I expect that we’ll see an uptick in that unemployment rate come tomorrow.”

Mr. Gibbs said Friday the administration still expects the rate to reach 10 percent.

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