'This Week' Transcript: NEC Director Larry Summers

PHOTO Larry Summers, left, and Alan Greenspan are shown in these file photos.

TAPPER: Good morning, everyone, and happy Easter and Passover. You have to go back three years -- to March 2007 -- to find the last time the U.S. economy created as many jobs as were created last month, three years. And yet the 162,000 new jobs did not put a dent in the unemployment rate, which remains at 9.7 percent.

Fifteen million Americans were still looking for work in March, and of those, 6.5 million have been unemployed for more than 27 weeks. And the broadest measure of unemployment, those who have given up looking for a job or cannot find a full-time job, bumped up to 16.9 percent.

Joining me now, the president's top economic adviser, Dr. Larry Summers.

Dr. Summers, thanks so much for joining us.

SUMMERS: Good to be with you, Jake.

TAPPER: Now, if you remove the temporary census worker jobs, 48,000, you're left with 114,000 new jobs. Big businesses have retained earnings. They are not spending that -- that money on creating new jobs. They're investing abroad. They're buying their own stock. They're buying other companies. Why are they not creating new jobs?

SUMMERS: They're starting to. We're in a very different place than we were a year ago. A year ago, we were losing 600,000 jobs a month. Now the process of job creation has started. We expect that it will accelerate.

But we've got to do more to make sure that there's demand in this economy that will create more jobs. We are in no position to rest or to be complacent just because of this jobs report.

That's why the president thought it was so important to sign into law the incentive program two weeks ago that allows the waiver of payroll taxes for companies that hire an unemployed person. That's why the president is pushing for spending on new construction projects, new infrastructure projects. That's why we've got to focus particularly on small business at this point.

You know, if you look at the data, the situation with large businesses is serious, but the situation in small business is devastating. That's why the president put forth proposals in December and wants to see Congress act on his measures to increase the flow of credit to small business. That's why it's so important that we're seeing a big increase -- more than 10 percent -- in the tax refunds that Americans are getting this April, which will put them in a position to spend -- to spend more and start that process of job creation.

That's why it's so important to have passed health insurance, which is going to give a tax credit that's actually retroactive to January to small -- to small businesses. We've got to do everything we can to provide the incentives, to create the framework for more job creation in this economy. We cannot rest where we are.

TAPPER: Now, you said that you think it's going to accelerate. You guys have been touting a bar graph showing job losses during the previous administration, job gains since the stimulus passed. Do you see that progress continuing? Or can we expect that there might be some dips even into negative job growth in the coming months?

SUMMERS: Jake, the numbers fluctuate from month to month, and no good business runs itself based on every weekly or monthly fluctuation. And the president's focus is on building a stronger economy so we don't have debacles like the last couple of years again.

TAPPER: So there might be some dips?

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