- The Washington Times - Friday, July 31, 2009

President Barack Obama said Friday morning’s report on the country’s Gross Domestic Product — a measure of the U.S.’s overall economic growth — showed the recession was worse than he knew upon taking office in January but most economists think his stimulus plan has helped.

“It told us how close we are to the edge,” he said. “And as many economists will tell you, that part of the progress is directly attributable to the Recovery Act.”

Mr. Obama said the report showing the economy contracted only 1 percent from April to June was better-than-expected news, but high unemployment remains a major worry.

“As far as I’m concerned, we won’t have a recovery as long as we keep losing jobs,” he said. “And I will not rest until every American who wants a job can find one.”

The president, like many economists, expects the government report next week on July unemployment will show more job losses.

The economy has lost 6.5 million jobs since the recession began in December 2007. The June unemployment rate of 9.5 percent was the highest since 1983. Economists expect the rate to surpass 10 percent later this year, even if the economic recovery begins.

Giving quick lesson on basic economics, Mr. Obama said growth, as shown by the GDP report, will be followed by more hiring. However, he said growth should not be returning to an economy based on inflated profits and maxed-out credit cards “because that doesn’t create a lot of jobs.”

“We need a robust growth based on a highly educated, well-trained workforce; health care costs that aren’t dragging down businesses and families; and clean energy jobs and industries,” he said. “That’s where our future is. And that’s where the jobs are.”

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