US needs support to stop jobs crisis: Obama economist

City A.M. Reporter
The US economy has begun to climb out of the worst downturn since the 1930 Great Depression but still needs additional steps by the federal government to stem a crisis in the job market, a senior economic adviser to President Barack Obama said yesterday.

“What we need now is not the withdrawal of support, but further targeted actions that will help the private sector come back more strongly,” Christina Romer, chairwoman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said in prepared remarks for a commencement ceremony at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia.

A text of Romer’s remarks was made available in Washington.

“I worry that policymakers may take the return of growth as licence to withdraw the support that has been essential to the recovery,” she said.

Romer urged Congress to a pass a series of measures Obama has proposed to jump-start growth, including the establishment of a lending fund to spur credit to small businesses and provide cash-strapped cities and states with aid to help them avoid layoffs of teachers and other local employees.

With the US unemployment rate just under 10 per cent, the Obama administration is juggling the need to spur economic growth with pressure to rein in ballooning US budget deficits.

Obama has named a bipartisan fiscal commission that will report back by on ways to curb the deficit.