Transcript: George Interviews Timothy Geithner

PHOTO ABC News? George Stephanopoulos interviews Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner sat down for an interview with "Good Morning America" anchor George Stephanopoulos on Monday, Aug. 2, 2010. The following transcript of the interview has been edited for clarity.

GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Mr. Secretary, thanks for joining us.

TIMOTHY GEITHNER: Good to see you, George.

STEPHANOPOULOS: In your speech today, you say that the economy is healing. But I guess the question for a lot of Americans is how quickly? Alan Greenspan said over the weekend that we're actually in a pause in the recovery. Is he right?

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GEITHNER: It's a tough economy still for a lot of people. And the crisis was brutal. Businesses across the country, they just-- just cut savagely into investment and into payroll when the crisis was at its peak. But we've had now a year of growth. Private sector jobs coming back, not as fast as we'd like but they're coming. They're starting.

STEPHANOPOULOS: And not as fast as you expected it to either.

GEITHNER: Actually, in some ways it's stronger than we expected. We did not think we'd have -- the economy would bottom so quickly, growth back this quickly, this strong, and actually this much job growth this quickly. Now, again, parts of the economy are still very hard, very tough. But a lot of the economy is getting stronger.

And if you look at the numbers last week that tell you what's happening to the economy as a whole, what they showed is-- is the private sector is getting stronger. So if you'd add together business investment and consumption, that part of the economy, which is what matters for the future, is getting progressively stronger and that's very important. So you take out the government, take out inventory, the private sector of the American economy is investing again. And that's very promising.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Starting to. But I remember we talking back in December and-- and you all expected and others in the administration expected steady job growth over the course of the spring. And that hasn't what we-- isn't what we've seen.

GEITHNER: Well, again, I think you're seeing generally businesses, they're certainly investing again. Business investment was up 20 percent in the second quarter, very strong despite what some people say is concerned about uncertainty, a lot of strong investment.

You're seeing hours increase, people bringing back hours. And private job-- sector job growth is increasing. Now, in the spring you had a significant thing happen, which is you had a lot of concern about Europe falling apart. And that caused another blow to –

STEPHANOPOULOS: It was a setback.

GEITHNER: It was a setback. And you saw equity prices fall a lot over that period of time. But Europe's moved now to bring a little more stability back. You're seeing confidence start to return there. That's encouraging. That was just a temporary thing.

And I think, again, if you look at the part of the economy that matters, which is not the government, not what the government's doing. Look at what businesses are doing across the country. You look what's happening to spending. That private measures demand are getting stronger, and that's encouraging. Still very tough. Long way to go. It's going take a while to heal a lot a while to repair the damage.

STEPHANOPOULOS: Should Americans be prepared for unemployment to go up before it goes down?

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