- The Washington Times - Friday, December 5, 2008

President Bush on Friday said for the first time that the U.S. economy is in a recession, four days after a key body announced that the country has been in recession for a year.

“Today’s job data reflects the fact that our economy is in a recession,” Mr. Bush said, during a statement to reporters on the South Lawn.

Mr. Bush made the statement in response to statistics released by the Labor Department showing that employers cut 533,000 jobs in November, the most job losses in 34 years.

The president attributed the job losses to “severe problems in our housing, credit, and financial markets.”

“I’m concerned about our workers who have lost jobs during this downturn,” Mr. Bush said, citing the administration’s decision recently to extend unemployment benefits for the second time in recent months.

The National Bureau of Economic Research on Monday said that their indicators show the U.S. has been in recession since last December.

The White House has consistently refused to say that the economy was in recession, insisting that the precise term used to describe economic tough times was not as important as what they did to respond.

Mr. Bush also said repeated his administration’s position that any government money given to troubled auto manufacturers should come out of a $25 billion fund being distributed by the Department of Energy.

Mr. Bush called on Congress to “act next week” to expedite the companies access to the money.

“And it’s important to make sure that taxpayers’ money be paid back if any is given to the companies,” he said.

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