President Barack Obama’s chief economist said it will take time for administration efforts to bring down the jobless rate to bear fruit.
“The unemployment rate is 9.6 percent and it takes a lot of time and a lot of effort to get that down,” Austan Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, said in an interview on Bloomberg Television’s “Conversations with Judy Woodruff,” to be broadcast this weekend. “What we are trying to do is unleash the private sector.”
Unemployment, which was at 7.7 percent in January 2009 when Obama took office, reached a 26-year high of 10.1 percent in October and has been 9.5 percent or higher for the past year. The U.S. recession that ended in June of last year led to the loss of 8.4 million jobs, the worst employment slump in the post-World War II period.
Obama signed legislation this week that will cut taxes and provide credit help for small businesses, calling it an essential step for job growth in a slow economy. The world’s largest economy expanded at a 1.6 percent annual rate last quarter after growing at a 3.7 percent pace in the first three months of the year.
The small-business legislation provides $56 billion worth of tax cuts over the next 12 months, with the bulk coming through “bonus depreciation,” which allows companies to more quickly write off the cost of purchases. It also revives stimulus provisions cutting fees and increasing limits on loan guarantees offered by the Small Business Administration.
“We need to keep doing more, and as we do that the unemployment rate will eventually be coming down,” Goolsbee said. “We will be generating jobs,” he said. “There is no get-rich-quick scheme to get us out of a thing that was a decade in the making.”