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White House: US Unemployment To Stay High Through 2012

Job seekers pack the aisles of the 32nd Annual Spring Career Fair at Cleveland State University on a day when the jobless report showed employers hired in February at the fastest pace in almost a year, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent, March
Job seekers pack the aisles of the 32nd Annual Spring Career Fair at Cleveland State University on a day when the jobless report showed employers hired in February at the fastest pace in almost a year, and the unemployment rate fell to 8.9 percent, March

White House economists predicted Thursday that U.S. unemployment will stay at or near its present level throughout next year. They also say that economic growth will be slower than previously projected.  

A report from the Office of Management and Budget forecast the nation’s jobless rate to remain near its current level of nine percent through 2012.

Continued high unemployment could threaten President Barack Obama’s prospects for re-election.

Mr. Obama is scheduled to lay out his plan for job creation and economic recovery next week, before a joint session of Congress.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Thursday the president’s initiatives, if implemented, would help to reduce the jobless rate.

“Economists will be able to look at this series of proposals and say that, based on history, based on what we know, based on their collected expertise, that it would add to economic growth and it would cause an increase in job creation,” Carney said.

The administration report also forecast overall growth of just 1.7 percent this year, one percent less than predicted earlier this year.

The economy grew at seven-tenths of one percent in the first half of 2011, its slowest pace in two years.

The White House predicts a federal deficit of $1.3 trillion for the fiscal year which ends September 30.  That is a slight increase over last year’s deficit but more than $300 billion below February’s forecast.

The administration delayed release of the report, which had been due in July, because of legislative battles over the debt limit and the budget.

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