(AFP) – Jun 17, 2010
WASHINGTON — Vice President Joe Biden said Thursday that the US economic recovery is on track and that the huge stimulus measure enacted last year "is working" despite criticism of the plan.
"The fact is the Recovery Act is working," Biden told a news conference as the administration kicked off a six-week series of events called "Recovery Summer," to highlight the numerous infrastructure programs funded by the 787-billion-dollar plan.
"We've gone from hemorrhaging over 700,000 jobs a month the first several months we got here and turned on the lights in the West Wing here, to adding more -- several hundred thousand jobs a month the last several months."
Biden said that the US economy as measured by gross domestic product "was shrinking at 6.4 percent the first quarter we came into office" but that it "grew three percent last quarter, and averaged four percent over the last three quarters."
Biden said the bill enacted in February 2009, of which 620 billion dollars has been allocated, is still stimulating growth and jobs.
"As a result, the Recovery Act is responsible for somewhere between 2.3 million and 2.8 million jobs that were either saved or created," he said. "So, folks, the act is working."
But he said that the upcoming summer season "is actually poised to be the most active Recovery Act season yet, with tens of thousands of projects underway across the country that will help to create jobs for American workers and economic growth for businesses, large and small."
Biden and President Barack Obama are to participate in more than 20 groundbreakings and ceremonies for projects funded by the plan in the coming days.
"I think most of the skeptics have come around to the point that all the talk about ... how (the plan) was going to be this great boondoggle and all the fraud and abuse that was going to occur and it wasn't going to have much impact," Biden said.
"I think it's fair to say there's general consensus among most economists that a significant portion of the growth in the GDP as well as the job growth is attributable to the Recovery Act."
The aim of the stimulus was to create or save 3.5 million jobs to help pull the country out of the worst recession in decades. The US economy lost an estimated 8.5 million jobs in the recession.
The latest monthly snapshot of the labor market showed the United States created 431,000 jobs in May, but most were temporary government jobs for this year's census, while private sector job creation was a modest 41,000. The unemployment rate dipped to 9.7 percent from April's 9.9 percent, as around 322,000 people stopped looking for work.
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