Edward Lazear, chairman of the White House Council of Economic Advisers, said the U.S. economy remains strong even though a Labor Department report Sept. 7 showed U.S. employers last month cut jobs for the first time in four years. He made his remarks during a speech Monday at the annual meeting of the National Association for Business Economics, in San Francisco.
"Despite some mixed signals, we believe the economy remains fundamentally strong," he said. "The elephant in the room is the jobs report from last Friday."
"Most important, jobs continue to be readily available," while wages continue to grow, he said. Referring to the report of job losses for August, he said "many took the news hard, and I cannot deny that I was among them."
Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas President Richard Fisher was also stumping on behalf of the economy on Monday, telling a Laredo, Texas, audience that he's "generally encouraged" about the state of the economy and that the August job losses represented an "occasional discordant note."
"Our economy appears to be weathering the storm thus far," Fisher said today in a speech in Laredo. "As yet, tighter credit conditions do not appear to have had a major impact on overall economic activity outside of real estate."
Employers cut 4,000 workers in August, the Labor Department said Sept. 7. None of the 88 economists surveyed by Bloomberg News had predicted a decline. Revised figures showed that 69,000 jobs were added to payrolls in June, down from 188,000 in May. In July, employers added 68,000 workers.
Fisher signaled confidence in the economy, saying "some might have lost sight of our economy's great resiliency." Setting Fed policy isn't a "popularity contest" intended to earn praise from investors, he said.
Fisher said he speaks with about 30 chief executive officers and chief financial officers before each Fed interest-rate policy meeting and studies the Fed's regional reports. He said he has "not yet reached any conclusions" after speaking to about one-third of the executives.
"It is fair to say that I am encouraged by what I have heard against a background of constant negative speculation," he said.
After the speech, Fisher told reporters he's "still assessing" the impact of the subprime market problems on the overall economy, deseretnews.com reports.
A recent Wall Street Journal/NBC poll demonstrated that two-thirds of Americans believe the economy is either in recession or will be shortly. The same poll indicated that Americans strongly believe the Democrats will do a better job of reducing the record deficits of the Bush administration, controlling government spending, dealing with the economy and most importantly -- dealing with taxes.
The American people are tired of the status quo, and working families will not be ignored any longer. Democrats have promised to restore equity and fairness to our tax code, beginning with tax relief for middle-class families who represent the backbone of our economy, wsj.com reports.
Finally, it is surprising how frightened people get when I use the words fairness and equity to describe our efforts to simplify the tax code and encourage economic investment. When we truly have an equitable tax policy and the Bush deficits have been eliminated, I am confident millions of hardworking American families will begin to share in your rosy outlook, says Charles B. Rangel, Chairman of House Committee on Ways and Means, Washington.
Prepared by Alexander Timoshik
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