'This Week' Transcript: Christina Romer, George Will, Liz Cheney, Al Hunt, Judy Woodruff and Robert Reich

And you're right. The consequences for families across the country, especially with these long-term unemployment rates, are devastating. That's why the president -- I can tell you, from the day he took office -- has been saying it's jobs, jobs, jobs.

STEPHANOPOULOS: You know, it was reported that the president gave you a big hug after the November jobs report. What was his reaction on Friday?

ROMER: Well, you know, he -- I mean, he was, of course, subdued. He was disappointed. We all were, right? You know, that's -- that's just simply -- you know, I think it's a tribute to just how much he focused on this, that this is -- you know, the first Friday of every month is this incredibly tense day. We're all desperate to see progress, because we know how important it is to the economy and the people.

STEPHANOPOULOS: How big of a setback is this? Some economists look at these numbers and see a real prospect of a double-dip recession. I think Paul Krugman has put it at about 30 percent. Stephen Roach of Morgan Stanley has put it at 40 percent. What are your odds?

ROMER: I think we -- I think we are on a path of -- you know, of steady progress, that by all accounts, you know, GDP, which grew in the third quarter of last year, is going to grow even more strongly when we get the numbers for the fourth quarter. And I think, you know, if you look at basically every forecast, they are saying steady GDP growth over 2010.

The real question is going to be, is it going to be strong enough to really add a lot of people back into employment? And that is what we are focusing on, and I think that -- you know, that's got to be the top priority.

STEPHANOPOULOS: I talked to Secretary Geithner a few weeks ago, and he said that job growth would begin by spring. Has that timetable been set back?

ROMER: I think that's still a very realistic estimate.

STEPHANOPOULOS: So when -- what -- what kind of job growth are you expecting? And when exactly do you think it'll begin?

ROMER: So, you know, as I've said, with this -- this pattern of moderation that we've seen, I think we are getting close to stability in -- in employment. And then the next step is, obviously, to finally start adding jobs. You know, there's...

STEPHANOPOULOS: But you don't know the magnitude?

ROMER: You don't know the magnitude. I think, you know, we'll get a lot better read as we see what's happening to GDP, because sort of a -- a precursor for job growth, you've got to get economic growth, and we're certainly seeing that. And I think the whole question is going to be how strong it is.

You know, the big variable in all of this is the private sector. The government has been doing a lot to -- to hold up demand. I think the Recovery Act has been incredibly important in that regard. And the -- the whole question is, when does the private sector get its sea legs again?

STEPHANOPOULOS: You don't think they're doing enough?

ROMER: You know, what's been true -- consumers have been nervous, businesses have been nervous. We've been starting to see the confidence numbers come back. And I think, you know, what the president was talking about in December at his jobs summit is, what are the actions we can take now for this stage of the recovery that might help to take those firms that are thinking about hiring to get them to hire faster?

Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...
See It, Share It
PHOTO: Kanye West accepts the Vanguard Award onstage during the 2015 MTV Video Music Awards at Microsoft Theater on August 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.
Christopher Polk/MTV1415/Getty Images
PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin works out at Bocharov Ruchei residence in Sochi, Russia, Aug. 30, 2015.
Russian Presidential Press and Information Office/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images