Departing Obama advisor: Economy in a ‘bit of a slog’

On his last day on the job, presidential economics advisor Austan Goolsbee conceded that the economy is in a “bit of a slog’’ though he seemed skeptical that the nation is about to fall into another recession.

Goolsbee, chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors, said the economy was pummeled by crises in Europe and Japan, coupled with high gas prices. Still, he said an array of forecasts show the U.S. economy is likely to “rebound’’ in the second half of the year.

“We’re in a bit of a slog,’’ said Goolsbee, who is returning to his tenured position at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business. “We took some heavy blows in the first part of the year … and now we’re trying to get the growth rate back up.’’

Goolsbee’s departure coincided with the release of a government report Friday showing that the economy added 117,000 jobs in July -- a number that beat expectations but is still not enough to keep up with population growth. The unemployment rate dropped slightly, to 9.1% from 9.2%.


A recent wave of troubling economic news has sparked fears of a double-dip recession. Larry Summers, Obama’s former top economic advisor, estimated that there is a one-in-three chance the economy could slide back into recession.

Asked about the prospects of another recession, Goolsbee said in an interview: “The private sector, the Fed and the federal government are forecasting a rebound for the second half of the year. But, fundamentally, we have to do everything we can to increase the growth rate.’’