President Obama announced Monday that he has selected Princeton University labor economist Alan Krueger to serve as the top economist in the White House.
I am pleased to nominate Alan Krueger to lead the Council of Economic Advisers, the president said in a statement. As one of this country's leading economists, Alan has been a key voice on a vast array of economic issues for more than two decades. Alan understands the difficult challenges our country faces, and I have confidence that he will help us meet those challenges as one of the leaders on my economic team.
Krueger's tentative position will require Senate confirmation. He served as Assistant Secretary for Economic Policy and Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Treasury until last year, which should help make his confirmation go smoothly. He also served as Chief Economist at the U.S. Department of Labor during a part of President Clinton's first term.
If Krueger receives his expected confirmation, he will replace Austan Goolsbee, who left the administration earlier in the month in order to return to his teaching job at the University of Chicago. Before Goolsbee, Christina Romer served as chairwoman, but left in the fall of 2010 to return to her position at University of California, Berkley.
Obama has seen high turnover in terms of his economic staff. Of the core economic team beginning in Obama's presidency, only Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is still holding his position. Other top economic advisers have left to go back into academia or have headed to the private sector.
According to his profile on Princeton University's website, Krueger, the Bendheim Professor of Economics and Public Affairs at Princeton University, has regularly published on issues such as unemployment, education economics and income inequality. The profile notes he was a regular contributor to the Economic Scene column in the New York Times from 2000-2006.
Krueger received his undergraduate degree at Cornell University, and both his master's and doctorate degrees from Harvard University.
The move to appoint Krueger comes at a trying time for the president. Heading into the 2012 campaign, the unemployment rate is sitting above 9 percent, and quarterly growth has remained paltry, leading to some concerns of a second recession. While some economists have argued for a new round of stimulus spending, Washington has shown little appetite to do so, especially after the debt ceiling fight earlier this month.