Obama aides: Modest growth, but wary of oil prices

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WASHINGTON (AP) ? White House economic advisers predict the economy’s recovery will continue at a moderate pace. But President Barack Obama’s aides worry that an election-year spike in gasoline could dampen consumer confidence as it did last year.

In an annual report issued Friday, Obama’s economic advisers drew attention to updated private sector forecasts that place unemployment at 8.1 percent or even lower for the end of 2012. They note that economic growth so far has been nearly as fast as after the 1991 and 2001 recessions.

But gasoline prices are higher now than they were at this time last year. Alan Krueger, chairman of Obama’s Council of Economic Advisers, says passage of a payroll tax cut extension could help consumers weather a rise in gas prices.