President Barack Obama’s top economist says that U.S. job gains are broad-based and that growth in January and February was not simply the result of inaccurate statistical adjustments or “unseasonably warm weather.”
Alan Krueger, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, also said small businesses are finding it easier to obtain credit, aiding the recovery.
Some have suggested that an unusually warm winter helped propel job gains and the drop in unemployment claims in the first two months of the year, Krueger said in excerpts of remarks prepared for National Association for Business Economists Conference today in Washington.
“But the evidence suggests that the recent job gains have been more robust than merely a result of favorable weather,” he said “Although there is a long way to go before the labor market is operating normally, the accumulating evidence should lend confidence to the view that we are on a better path.”
Employers added 227,000 jobs in February and 284,000 in January, with the unemployment rate holding at a three-year-low of 8.3 percent, according to Labor Department figures released March 9. The number of Americans saying the U.S. economy is getting better rose in March to the highest level since 2004 as a decline in claims for unemployment benefits offered more evidence of a labor-market recovery. Thirty-four percent of respondents to Bloomberg’s monthly consumer expectations survey said the economy was improving.
Krueger also suggested that “credit availability for small businesses is also picking up now,” saying that “FDIC- insured financial institutions began to expand commercial and industrial loans to small businesses in 2011.”
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