US President Barack Obama has predicted that the US economy would grow again in the final quarter of 2009, pulling further out of a long and crippling recession.
'We have seen economic growth. We anticipate economic growth next quarter as well,' Obama said in an interview with Fox News from China.
In percentage terms, the US economy grew at a seasonally adjusted 3.5% annual rate in the third quarter from the previous quarter. The growth exceeded analysts' expectations and marked the strongest quarter since the third quarter of 2007 when a US sub-prime mortgage crisis triggered a global financial meltdown.
Obama acknowledged that while the US economy was improving it would still take time to get a grip on soaring unemployment, which passed the symbolic 10%mark for the first time in 26 years last month.
'I always said that job growth would lag behind economic growth,' he said. 'Nobody has been more disappointed than I have to see how high the unemployment rate has gotten, and I spend every waking hour when I'm talking to my economic team about how, where are you going to put people back to work,' he added.
Last Thursday, hours before embarking on his first trip to Asia as president, Obama announced a jobs forum would be held at the White House in December to try and tackle the crisis.
US Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke said this week that he expects the US economy to sustain its growth into 2010 despite 'important headwinds,' including tight credit and weak employment.
Bernanke said he sees the economy maintaining growth - after expanding in the third quarter following four quarters of declines - despite fears of a double-dip recession.
The weak job market is an area 'of great concern,' the Fed Chairman said in remarks to the Economic Club of New York, adding that the 'best thing we can say about the labour market right now is that it may be getting worse more slowly.'