Treasury Secretary: Private Job Growth 'Pretty Good'

Treasury secretary calls private job growth "pretty good."

ByABC News
July 25, 2010, 6:49 AM

July 25, 2010— -- Although Americans on the unemployment line might not agree, Secretary of the Treasury Timothy Geithner thinks job growth in the private sector is "pretty good."

In an interview on ABC News' "This Week," Geithner told host Jake Tapper that coming out of such a deep economic hole, private sector job growth over the last half year was better than satisfactory.

"Right now, the best thing the government can do ... is help create the conditions for the private sector to start to invest in hiring again," he said. "Now, we've seen six months of positive job growth by the private sector. That's pretty good," Geithner said. "Pretty good this early in a recession."

Tapper pointed out that employment had actually declined overall.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) said that payroll employment declined by 125,000 jobs last month. The decline, the BLS concluded, was due in part to temporary census workers getting laid off.

Tapper asked about a Treasury study indicating that executives in financial institutions that received billions in taxpayer bailout funds paid themselves $1.6 billion in salary and bonuses -- some receiving more than $10 million each.

The Treasury secretary expressed incredulity given that the bonuses doled out in the period in question -- from October 2008 to February 2009 -- were rewards for a time when some of these executives made decisions that helped cause the financial crisis.

Is there nothing that can be done about this, Tapper asked Geithner.

Not really, the Treasury secretary suggested, saying that Treasury official Ken Feinberg "went and used the authority he had to change behavior going forward," but didn't have the ability to do anything about compensation paid before February 2009 to the executives of bailed out banks.