Recovery spin wars: White House vs. business

By Jennifer Liberto, senior writer


WASHINGTON (CNNMoney.com) -- The Obama administration gave a positive spin to second-quarter economic numbers released Friday, with the administration's chief economist saying they show a "steady recovery from the recession continues."

In a statement on the White House website, Christina Romer, chairwoman of the White House's Council of Economic Advisers, called the annualized 2.4% figure a "solid rate of growth."

Romer acknowledged that "faster growth is needed," but she also pointed out positive indicators such as growth in investments, exports and consumption. "Much work clearly remains to be done before the U.S. economy is fully recovered," Romer wrote.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, not surprisingly, had a different take. The group, which has been critical of the administration's business policies, said the results indicate that the recession was deeper than first thought and the recovery more limited.

"These data are a clear indication that the policies to date have not produced sufficiently strong growth," Martin Regalia, the chamber's chief economist, said in a statement.

The 2.4% annual rate of growth was the fourth straight quarter of growth, following a recession that reached its low point with a 6.8% annual rate of decline in fourth quarter of 2008. The second-quarter report followed a 3.7% annualized rate of growth in the first quarter, and was weaker than the 2.5% rate expected by economists. (U.S. economic growth slows to 2.4%)

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told journalists Friday morning aboard Air Force One - as President Obama headed to Michigan to tout the auto industry recovery - that there have been "headwinds" styming economic growth.

Those obstacles, according to Gibbs, were the debt crisis in Europe as well as Republican votes in Congress that stalled aid to the unemployed and have blocked tax breaks and loans to small businesses.

Commerce Secretary Gary Locke suggested that the numbers indicate that the recession was worse than originally thought, while adding that the recovery is ongoing.

"America is undoubtedly moving in the right direction and this administration remains singularly focused on strengthening the economy and ensuring that every American who wants a job can get one," Locke said in a statement.

One top congressional Democrat, Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass., told MSNBC on Friday that "growth isn't nearly as good as it should be, but I'm not worried about a double-dip" recession.

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-- CNN White House Producer Jamie Crawford contributed to this report. To top of page

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