The White House on Friday ruled out anxiety over the possibility of a “double dip” recession after disappointing jobs numbers augmented previous data suggesting the recovery may be slowing.
“Not at all,” said White House deputy press secretary Josh Earnest when asked whether President Barack Obama was concerned about a possibility of a return to economic contraction or a “double dip” recession.
“If you look at the overall trajectory of our economy there is a lot of cause for optimism,” said Mr. Earnest aboard Air Force One as President Obama flew to Ohio to tout the success of his auto industry bailout.
“In just the last six months we are looking at about a million private sector private sector jobs created, the average over the last four months is 200,000 private sector jobs created.”
“There are a lot of economic indicators that are out there—what we are looking at—it is not just the one month numbers, regardless of what those numbers are. We are looking at the trend.”
The Labor Department reported Friday that the economy added a paltry 54,000 jobs in May, one-quarter of the February-April pace, intensifying the challenge to the Obama administration to get the economy growing.
The figures followed recent data showing the housing market remains moribund and lower than hoped-for economic growth which has dampened expectations that the economic recovery will accelerate.
The jobs report was the latest in a slew of recent economic indicators suggesting the nations recovery from the worst recession since the 1930s has hit another soft patch with the presidential election 18 months away.
While the field of Republican presidential candidates remains unformed, President Obama is facing a rising threat from potentially his toughest re- election opponent: the American economy.
Potential Republican candidates for the White House are making the economy an issue. Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, in announcing his candidacy for the Republican nomination, said Mr. Obama has failed America. Mr. Romney said of President Obama: “When he took office, the economy was in recession and he made it worse and he made it last longer.”