'This Week' Transcript: NEC Director Larry Summers

SUMMERS: But I think -- but my expectation would be that the trend is going to be upwards. We talk a great deal to businesses. We monitor all the statistics. And the steps that the president is taking should bring about an increased level of employment.

But, look, we don't have enough in place. That's why the president has put forward measures to the Congress for the credit for small businesses, for incentives that will let people spend money and put people to work retrofitting their homes to make them more energy efficient, to preserve jobs on the front lines for teachers and for policemen.

What happens will depend on choices we make, and there is much more that we can do, and the president is pushing for the adoption of those measures, even as we focus on implementing and continuing to implement the strong set of measures in the president's Recovery Act.

TAPPER: Where do you think we're going to be in September? Are we going -- are we going to still be at 9.7 percent unemployment or is it going to go down a little?

SUMMERS: You know, the -- the good news is that, if you look at what's happened in the first quarter of this year, it's hardly satisfactory, but it is running somewhat ahead of what the administration was forecasting, because our forecasts were conservative. And I'd expect continued progress in job creation.

As you see progress in job creation, you tend to see unemployment go down. It's not quite as simple as some people think, Jake, because as conditions get better, more people decide to look for work and are counted as in the labor force. So sometimes it's frustrating and the progress doesn't show up immediately in the unemployment rate, but it's progress nonetheless in giving jobs to people who need them.

That is what is the president's top economic priority for this year. You know, all of us -- I mean, the president talks about this with us each week. The letters that he receives from the families where kids are worried about whether their parents are going to be able to hold onto their job...

TAPPER: Well, if I could...

SUMMERS: And that's why we're so focused on this jobs issue.

TAPPER: There are a lot of members of Congress who are concerned about jobs because of China, because of what they see -- the manipulation of currency by China. The Obama administration had scheduled a semi-annual report to Congress on currency, in which it was going to state whether or not the Obama administration believes the currency is being manipulated. That report, we learned this weekend, is going to be delayed.

Is it going to be delayed because the Obama administration needs China's cooperation on other things, such as sanctions against Iran?

SUMMERS: No.

TAPPER: That's not the reason?

SUMMERS: No, it's being delayed because that's part of our international economic dialogue, which is directed at supporting a crucial issue for jobs creation, doubling our level of exports, and that depends on what other countries do.

We've got three major meetings, a meeting of the G-20 finance ministers, our strategic dialogue that takes place every year with China, and then the president's meeting, building on the forum he created in London and Pittsburgh last year of the G-20 countries.

Page
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
 
You Might Also Like...