Those worried that America's high unemployment rate won't budge by the presidential election in November 2012 can rest easy, if they have faith in legendary investor and Berkshire Hathaway chairman Warren Buffett.
During an interview Thursday on CNBC Buffett said he has a bet wtih Peter Orszag, the former director of the Office of Management and Budget for the White House, that America's unemployment will fall from its current rate of 9.1 percent to below 8 percent before the presidential election in late 2012.
What's more, Buffett said the reason he thinks unemployment will improve quicker than many economists predict is because the ailing U.S. housing market will come back quicker than many economists predict, jump starting jobs.
I think the number that went around yesterday was that you would need 217,000 jobs created every month between now and the election in order to get that number below (an) eight-and-a-half or eight percent unemployment rate. How likely do you think it is when we get to the election next year that we'll be looking at unemployment below eight percent? asked CNBC Squawk Box host Becky Quick in her interview with Buffett.
I've got a bet with a fellow, Buffett said, that it will be -- and he's a very smart fellow -- if you asked any economist who you should bet on, they would bet on the other fellow, Buffett said, in reference to Orszag, who stepped down from President Barack Obama's administration last summer to become the vice chairman of global banking at Citigroup.
But I've got, said Buffett, a bet with a fellow that -- it's only $1 -- I've got a bet with him that (the unemployment rate) will be below that figure (of eight percent). But...that's because I think housing will come back before that, Buffett said. If I'm wrong about housing, I lose the bet.