"Today's job report reflects the sharp slowdown in economic activity caused by problems in the housing and credit markets," White House Press Secretary Dana Perino wrote in reaction to
the discouraging job Labor Department report out today showing that the nation's unemployment rate bolted to 7.2 percent in December, the highest level in 16 years, CBS News' Mark Knoller reports.
"Understanding how severe the problem was, the President worked aggressively to address the root causes of the current economic problems, and he signed an additional expansion of unemployment insurance benefits to help more Americans weather the downturn," Perino argued.
In efforts to calm American fears, Perino assured that "the administration has taken bold and decisive actions to help the economy," yet she noted, "those actions will take time to have their full effect. Americans can have faith that the economy can return to growth and job creation this year."