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Bush: US Economy Gaining Strength


President Bush is trying to focus America's attention on what he says is good economic news, at a time when his public approval ratings on the issue are down.

President Bush says hard work and productivity, plus his economic policies of cutting taxes and restraining government spending have produced an economy that, he says, continues to gain strength and momentum.

"We have every reason to be optimistic about our economic future," said Mr. Bush. "When you think about the news that has come in -- the jobs report, the recent report on strong economic growth, low inflation, strong productivity, lower gasoline prices, a strong housing market, increases in consumer confidence and business investment -- our economic horizon is as bright as it has been in a long time."

The president spoke in the White House Rose Garden on the day when the government released figures showing the creation of 215,000 new jobs in November.

Economic growth for this year's third quarter was revised upward to 4.3 percent, something the president says shows the strength of the economy, because the growth came despite high gasoline prices and the damage from killer hurricanes along the Gulf Coast.

Unemployment remains at five percent, which is lower than the average of the past few decades, but still too high, the president says, for people looking for work.

"This economy is in good shape. We are not going to rest, until every American who wants a job can find one," he added. "We are going to continue to work for good policies for our workers and our entrepreneurs. I will continue to push for pro-growth economic policies, all aimed at making sure every American can realize the American Dream."

Despite some improvement in the economy, the president's public approval ratings on the issue continue to fall. An Associated Press poll last month showed 61 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Mr. Bush is handling the economy. That is up from a 58 percent disapproval rating in the same poll for October.

White House officials are trying to refocus America's attention on the good economic news with the early release of some positive numbers and a speech on the economy in the state of North Carolina on Monday.

President Bush says the foundation for American growth is strong, as it is based on low taxes and restrained spending, legal reforms and incentives for savings and investment.

But U.S. central bank chairman Alan Greenspan warned Friday, the nation could still face economic problems, unless Congress and the president cut huge federal budget deficits.

Mr. Greenspan said the growing number of people set to retire, and soaring medical care costs, are driving up the price of key government programs.

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