WASHINGTON - President Barack Obama in an interview aired Sunday said all signs point to the U.S. economy starting to grow again but there may not be enough new jobs created until next year.
I want to be clear, that probably the jobs picture is not going to improve considerably -- and it could even get a little bit worse -- over the next couple of months, he said in an interview taped Friday with CNN's State of the Union.
And we're probably not going to start seeing enough job creation to deal with the -- a rising population -- until some time next year, Obama said, adding that 150,000 additional jobs must be added each month just to keep pace with population growth.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke said on September 15 that the worst U.S. recession since the Great Depression of the 1930s was probably over but the recovery would be slow and it would take time to create new jobs.
In signs the U.S. economy is recovering, retail sales rose at the fastest pace in 3-1/2 years in August and a gauge of New York state manufacturing activity hit a nearly two-year high.
Obama has sought in recent weeks to highlight the signs of an improving economy in an effort to boost his popularity, which has suffered amid a heated debate over his plan to overhaul the nation's healthcare system.
In the interview, Obama said he will leave it up to Bernanke to pronounce whether or not the recession was officially over.
But he said the financial markets were working again and manufacturing had even ticked up, in terms of production, last month. So all the signs are that the economy's going to start growing again, he said.
Obama said jobs figures tend to be the last to catch up in an economic recovery. The other problem is, we lost so many jobs that making up for those that have already been lost is going to require really high growth rates, he said.
Obama is going to Pittsburgh during the week to host the Group of 20 leaders of the biggest industrialized and developing economies.
That's part of what the G-20 meeting in Pittsburgh is going to be about, making sure that there's a more balanced economy, he said.
We can't go back to the era where the Chinese or the Germans or other countries just are selling everything to us, we're taking out a bunch of credit card debt or home equity loans, but we're not selling anything to them, he said.
(Editing by Bill Trott)