Obama's Influence on Bank Lending Is in Doubt

Employment Doubts

Though Obama's meeting with bankers dominated the White House's economic agenda in recent days, the White House' top economic adviser Lawrence Summers made news recently with a prediction that the U.S. economy will see a return to job growth this spring.

This, too, was met with skepticism by economists who spoke to ABCNews.com.

"I think it's a little on the early side, but I hope he's right," Harvard's Rogoff said. He said the prediction may be one of "smoke and mirrors" because it's unclear whether the new jobs will be temporary ones created by government initiatives or if the job growth will be more organic.

Rogoff said he didn't expect to see job growth until the second half of 2010, but added that, even still, the job market would "remain difficult throughout next year."

Rogoff bases his prediction on his research, with the University of Maryland's Carmen Reinhart, of past financial crises around the world.

Following a financial crisis, he said, "unemployment rises much more and for much longer than after typical recession."

"I expect it to get worse before it gets better," he said.

AEI's Reinhart said that Summers' prediction of spring job growth is "not unreasonable" but added a caveat: Even as the number of jobs grow, the unemployment rate won't go down quickly because the country's "discouraged workers" -- those who stopped looking for work and haven't been included in the government's unemployment stats lately -- will reenter the jobs market.

"As people on net begin to get hired, they'll come back to the labor market. The unemployment rate will stay high for a while," he said. "…That's bad news if you're running for Congress."

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