Washington: Recent US economic data has gotten better but recovery will be a slow process, a top White House economic adviser said on Sunday.
“We’ve seen some more mixed statistics after a period when there was no positive statistics to be found,” White House director of the national economic council Lawrence Summers told NBC’s Meet the Press.
“But it is a long road and it is going to take time. It is going to take creating jobs again...it is going to take supporting the financial system,” he said.
Hopeful: Lawrence Summers. AP
Summers said the changing tone of the data showed that President Barack Obama’s emergency fiscal stimulus package was helping steady the economy.
Data continues to show the country’s severe recession is inflicting a lot of pain, with at least five million jobs lost since it began in late 2007, but there have been scattered indications that the pace of economic decline is slowing.
Global stocks closed on Friday higher for a sixth straight week and oil prices rose above $50 (Rs2,485) a barrel on the upbeat mood of consumers and improved quarterly earnings reported by some banks.
Government action to protect the financial sector has also included massive injections of taxpayer money to shore up the capital position of its biggest banks, drawing harsh criticism from the public for bailing out rich bankers.
Some banks have since said they want to give the money back. Summers welcomed this in principle, but said it must not be done if it meant putting bank balance sheets back under pressure or constricting the flow of new credit to the economy.
“We don’t want people to be paying back the government in ways that will put them back in trouble,” he said.