White House: GDP numbers "encouraging," but economy remains "fragile"


The White House on Thursday called the latest real GDP figures "encouraging," but acknowledged that "faster growth clearly is needed to replace the jobs lost in the recent downturn and to reduce long-term unemployment."

In a blog post on the White House website, Katharine Abraham, a member of the Obama administration's Council of Economic Advisers, commented on the Commerce Department's Thursday release on the third quarter GDP numbers ­- which show a 2.5 percent annual growth rate, marking the ninth straight quarter of positive growth. 

Spending lifts economy 2.5% after near stall

The 2.5 percent figure is nearly twice the growth - 1.3 percent - achieved in the second quarter.

Abraham noted that despite the positive signs, more work was needed to create jobs and grow the economy.

"While the continued expansion is encouraging, faster growth clearly is needed to replace the jobs lost in the recent downturn and to reduce long-term unemployment," she said.

According to the blog post, business investment -- which grew 16.3 percent at an annual rate - provided a notable source of the third quarter growth, while residential construction also increased. Other "positive contributions" included consumer spending, fixed investment, and net exports.

Abraham said that despite progress, the economy remains "fragile." She called on Congress to pass the president's jobs bill to ensure continued growth.

"We are, nonetheless, at a fragile moment in the world economy, and cannot afford to do anything to undermine our economic recovery. That's why the President continues to urge Congress to pass the American Jobs Act without delay," she wrote. "The American Jobs Act includes measures that would accelerate the recovery, including extending the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance, keeping teachers in the classroom and police and firefighters on the beat, and investing in our nation's infrastructure to help put Americans back to work. Independent economists say it could increase employment by up to 1.9 million, increase growth and lower the unemployment rate."

Abraham also made a push for the "balanced approach" to deficit reduction that the president pushed earlier this year.