The United States' job market is recovering at a better rate than it did after its past two recessions despite high unemployment, a senior Treasury Department official was quoted as saying on Monday.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Alan Krueger, the Treasury's assistant secretary for economic policy, said the nation's recessions in 1990-91 and 2001, both of which lasted eight months, were followed by a jobless recovery.

The jobs situation -- as difficult as it is -- has actually started to improve earlier than in the last two recoveries, Krueger said.

We're going to claw our way out of this -- it's not going to be a rapid turnaround -- and maybe we should have done more to prepare expectations. But we are headed in the right direction.

Krueger was quoted as saying the reason businesses were not yet employing more people was that demand had not recovered sufficiently.

He said the best policies were targeted measures to spur job growth and ensure that it continues, rather than a fiscal stimulus package.

(Reporting by Karolina Tagaris; Editing by Marguerita Choy)