Geithner: Choppy and uneven recovery underway

Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner on Sunday cautioned while there were some encouraging signs in the latest report on economic growth, the recovery will be choppy and uneven.

“This is gonna be a different recovery than in the past because Americans are gonna have to save more,” he said in an interview on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “A lot of damage was caused by this crisis. It’s gonna take some time for us to grow out of this.”

Helped by the massive government stimulus programs, GDP rose 3.5 percent in the third quarter. President Obama said in his weekly address on Saturday his programs have created or saved 1 million jobs.

When asked if the recession is over, Geithner said it’s up to the economists to determine that and it won’t be known for years.

“But the real test of recovery will be when we have unemployment coming down,” he said. “People back to work. Businesses confident to invest again.”

Economists say October was probably another tough month for the labor market, with more job losses, weak wage growth and another increase in the unemployment rate.

Unemployment reached a 26-year high of 9.8 percent in September, and economists say that number could be even worse in October.

“It’s just the beginning,” Geithner added. “This is a very tough economy still.”

He declined to forecast how high unemployment could rise, saying “unemployment is worse than almost everybody expected, but growth is back a little more quickly.”

(c) 2009, Inc. Source: McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.