White House predicts slow employment growth

By Tami Luhby, senior writer


NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- Companies will begin slowly adding to their payrolls in 2010, according to an annual White House review of the economy.

The White House Council of Economic Advisers, which on Thursday released a 462-page analysis of the president's economic initiatives, said that the unemployment rate will be at 10% during 2010. It is now at 9.7%.

"With millions of Americans still unemployed, much work remains to restore the American economy to health," the report said. "It will take a prolonged and robust GDP expansion to eliminate the large jobs deficit that has opened up over the course of the recession."

On a call Wednesday with reporters, Council Chairwoman Christina Romer said she expects an average of 95,000 jobs a month to be created this year, and that the nation's GDP will expand at a 2.5% rate.

The report, which is delivered to Congress, looks at the actions President Obama took to deal with the recession over the past year. It also discusses the economic challenges that lie ahead for the nation, but offers little insight that's new.

Overall, the analysis enthusiastically supports the administration's handling of the economic crisis and its proposals to strengthen the country's fiscal standing in the future.

Romer called the report "a page-turner" and noted that it's available for download to Kindle and other e-readers.

Placing blame

The report places blame on the Bush administration for running up debts and cutting taxes.

Romer blogged about the study on WhiteHouse.gov. "Largely because of two tax cuts, two wars, and a major new Medicare drug benefit that were not paid for, the budget surpluses of the 1990s had been replaced by substantial actual and projected future deficits long before the recession began at the end of 2007," she wrote.

She also took another whack at Obama's favorite new target: Wall Street.

"Much of the economic growth that the United States experienced in the past decade was fueled by consumers and the government running up large debts, aided by a financial system better at making short-term profits than managing long-term risks," she wrote.

Republicans were quick to react the report, calling it fluff and noting that the report says that unemployment won't fall back to its 2008 level for another seven years.

"The Obama Administration's report is full of blame for the policies of years past, praise for its own failed policies of the past year, and promises about their ideological agenda to grow government, said Rep. Eric Cantor, R-Va., the House GOP whip. "Instead of praising themselves and blaming others, a greater focus on small businesses and smart solutions to reduce uncertainty and create jobs would be welcomed and is long overdue."

Praising policies

The report has kind words for the $862 billion American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the centerpiece of Obama's economic policy in his first year. Calling the program the "great unsung hero of the past year," Romer reiterated that the program has funded up to 2 million jobs and helped turn the economy around.

Going forward, the report highlights several areas of financial concerns. These include health care, the deficit, living standards, business investment and trade, climate change and financial regulation. As consumers spend less, the government must foster an atmosphere which allows companies to ramp up their investments and exports.

The report lays out the administration's proposals to address these issues.

Obama has made job creation his central focus in his second year in office. He has recently traveled the country promoting tax credits for small businesses, the source of many new hires. And on Tuesday, he brought together congressional leaders to push for a bipartisan agreement on legislation to boost hiringTo top of page

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